Ahead of the start of the seventh edition of the league, Anup Kumar has mentioned that he always wanted to take up the coaching role in the Pro Kabaddi League. This is the first year that Anup will be coaching the Puneri Paltan side in the league which gets underway on Saturday in Hyderabad.
Puneri Paltan finished fourth in Zone A with only eight wins in 22 matches last season, the Pune-based franchise is going to look forward to turning a new leaf this season. Pune has retained only two of its players from last season, Nitin Tomar and Girish Ernak. They have revamped their team ahead of the upcoming season and Anup is in the forefront of it all. The 35-year-old has been with PKL since its start, he himself decided to take on the role of coaching a team as he wants to stay connected to the sport.
“If I had a gap after playing, my mind would have wanted to do all kinds of things. Maybe I would have thought of commentating with Star or work with the league but right now I am in touch with the sport and all the players know me. I wanted to take this role and support the players,” Anup told TOI
“We wanted Anup as the coach the moment he announced his retirement,” Puneri Paltan CEO Kailash Kandpal said at a press conference.
The league has evolved a lot from its inception in 2014 and Anup was the face of the campaign in season 1, he has witnessed the change and growth of kabaddi in the country.
“In the first two seasons, we had the liberty to roam around and there was no integrity officer with us,” he told TOI. “Now there are strict rules when it comes to going out. We are not allowed to go out a lot and we cannot call anyone to our hotel rooms. Now even our phones are not allowed in the stadiums since last three seasons," Anup explained.