Season eight of the ProKabaddi League is likely to get underway on December 22 and will be held in a bio-bubble in Bengaluru.
Sportstar has learnt that PKL 2021 will be held in Bengaluru’s Kanteerava Indoor Stadium, home to the Bengaluru Bulls. The organisers mulled over other venues such as Ahmedabad and Jaipur as well, but Bengaluru got the final nod. The ProKabaddi League, which is India’s second most-watched sporting league, will be the first indoor tournament to be held in the country since the coronavirus pandemic.
Doing away with the usual caravan format that sees the league move to 12 cities over three months, this season will be held in one venue owing to the concerns surrounding the pandemic. All players will need to be vaccinated and the teams will have to assemble in Bengaluru at least 14 days prior to the start of the season.
Jaipur Pink Panthers, which won the inaugural edition of the PKL in 2014, will begin its pre-season camp in Dehradun on October 16. Telugu Titans, gunning for its maiden title, will assemble in Hyderabad on October 7 while the Bengaluru Bulls’ camp with kickstart this week.
The league was initially set to begin in July but the onset of the second wave of the pandemic meant the organisers had to push it to the end of the year.
The player auctions were held in August and Pardeep Narwal, the leading point-scorer in the PKL’s short history, emerged as the top buy as UP Yoddha broke the bank to sign him for a league-record fee of ₹1.65 crore.
While Fazel Atrachalli (U Mumba), Mohammed Esmaeil Nabibakhsh (Bengal Warriors) and Hadi Tajik (Puneri Paltan) were retained ahead of the season, 22 more overseas players were signed at the auction.
However, with the league’s vaccination policy, there is little clarity on the foreign players’ participation and when they would potentially join their teams.