Mumbai: Former India captain Anup Kumar, Korea's Jang Kun Lee and Iran's Meraj Sheykh are among the select elite players who have been retained by seven franchises for the fifth VIVO Pro Kabaddi starting in July.
As many as seven players have been retained by the franchise, while over 350 players will be a part of season five auctions slated for 22-23 May in New Delhi.
Captain of U Mumba for the past four seasons, Anup was retained by his franchise for his yeoman service where he led U Mumba to three finals, winning the trophy in season two.
"I am obliged to be retained by my family, my team U Mumba for the fourth consecutive season," Anup said.
"VIVO Pro Kabaddi Season Five is going to be bigger and better in terms of four new teams, more matches, longer duration and endless action on the mat.
"I look forward to play the next season and wish all the 4 new teams Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana all the best for the same."
Most successful raider in PKL history, Rahul, who was awarded the best raider title twice in seasons one and four, was retained by Telugu Titans.
Rahul said: "I am delighted. I am looking forward to the auctions to see the composition of the team where we are expecting new talent to participate as well."
All-rounder, Meraj, who had captained Iran to the Kabaddi World Cup finals, was retained by Dabang Delhi KC, while South Korean raider Jang Kun Lee will turn up for Bengal Warriors for the fifth season too.
Among others, defender Ashish Kumar is the only category B player to be retained this season by Bengaluru Bulls, while Pardeep Narwal, who bagged the Emerging Player award in season three and Most Valuable Player in season four, was retained by two-time champion Patna Pirates.
All-rounder, Deepak Hooda, who is known for scoring the third highest raid points in season four, too was retained by Puneri Paltan. Jaipur Pink Panthers is the only team that didn't retain any player.
"It's great to be back to continue playing for Puneri Paltan. Our team put up a powerful performance in season four, and we will take the competition a notch higher in the fifth season," Deepak said.
Recently, Mashal Sports, organiser and administrator of the league and its parent organization STAR India, announced the inclusion of four new teams that will participate in season five of the league.
The four new franchises will be represented by Iquest Enterprises Private Limited (Consortium) (Tamil Nadu), Adani Group (Gujarat), GMR Group (Uttar Pradesh) and JSW Group (Haryana).
Updated Date: May 15, 2017 22:40 PM