The Season 2 Champions of Pro Kabaddi, U Mumba, have decided to invest heavily in young talent apart from skipper Fazel Atrachali, and will go into Season 8 as the Moneyball team of the year.
U Mumba has grown to become a team that believes in young talent season after season and extract the most of them, and Season 8 will be no different as they look to find more diamonds in the rough, as they did with the likes of Siddharth Desai & Arjun Deshwal over the last couple of seasons in Pro Kabaddi. The season 2 champions retained the services of Left Corner star and Captain, Fazel Atrachali ahead of the season as well as lead raider Abhishek Singh, left cover defender Hardendra and local all-rounder Ajinkya Kapre. A top 4 finish last season with a young side has clearly given the management belief that it’s the way forward and only time will tell whether they have found more young stars to watch out for.
Overall Squad Rating – 6.5/10
The Ronnie Screwvala owned U Mumba franchise started their auction by bagging Iranian all-rounder Mohsen Maghsoudlou who is often seen training with Fazel Atrachali on social media and might feature in the starting seven from the get-go. They were quiet for most of the first part of the auction and got busy with the Category B & C players, as they looked to turn towards youth over experience. Perhaps the most exciting signing of the auction was former Tamil Thalaivas strike raider, Ajit Kumar for just 25 Lakhs which oddly enough, did not see an FBM from the Thalaivas either. Abhishek Singh was impressive last season with 162 raid points and 10 Super10s and could make for a lethal combination alongside left-raider Ajit Kumar, who had 121 raid points in PKL 7.
U Mumba has packed their team full of youngsters in both the offensive and defensive departments this season which is exciting yet risky and bought the impressive Rinku Sharma on the right corner and also packed their cover defense with former JPP man, Sunil Sidhgavali and Bengaluru Bulls’ Ashish Sangwan. Jashandeep Singh and Rahul Rana are exciting young signings in the raid department and we hear that there are some raw talents expected to come through from the NYPs including a couple of raiders who are towering figures over 6ft. 3 inches tall.
Under new Coach Rajguru Subramaniam and team leader Sandeep Singh, U Mumba will be hoping to go back to winning ways and make it through to the playoffs yet again, but with several untested talents, there will certainly be a few selection headaches for the team to get it right. While Fazel “Sultan” Atrachali is the main attraction in the side, U Mumba will have to be wary of being too reliant on their skipper too. It’s an exciting side that could spring a few surprises early in the tournament and will have to nurture their youngsters to see consistent success over the course of the 3-month long league season.