Pro Kabaddi League 2017 Opening Ceremony: Akshay Kumar to sing National Anthem, Sachin Tendulkar, Mithali Raj, Rana Dagubatti on the guest list

Akshay Kumar will sing the National Anthem at the opening ceremony of the fifth edition of the Pro Kabaddi League

After gaining much popularity, Pro Kabaddi League (PKL) season 5 is all set to kick-start at the Gachibowli Indoor Stadium in Hyderabad on July 28. This Pro Kabaddi League season will be bigger than the last as total of 12 teams will be fighting it out for the top honours over the next 13 weeks. Impressed with the overwhelming response from the crowd in India, the Pro Kabaddi League organisers added four new teams — Gujarat Fortunegiants, Haryana Steelers, UP Yoddha and Tamil Thalaivas, increasing the number from 8 teams to 12.

To fetch grandeur, PKL organisers have invited Bollywood superstar Akshay Kumar to sing the National Anthem at the opening ceremony. Also adding glitz and glamour to the event are “Baahubali” fame Rana Dagubatti and cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar, among others.

Several sporting personalities, including women’s cricket team captain Mithali Raj, and badminton players B. Sai Praneeth, Kidambi Srikanth and R.M.V. Gurusaidutt, will also be present at the event.

Noted badminton coach P. Gopichand will also be among the guests at the Gachibowli Indoor Stadium.

On the first day of the campaign, Titans clash with Ajay Thakur-captained Tamil Thalaivas, while former champions U Mumba, who will be led by veteran Anup Kumar, will take on Deepak Niwas Hooda-captained Puneri Paltan at the Gachibowli Indoor Stadium.

The new edition will also see a new format in which 12 teams would be divided into two zones of six teams each. Each of the teams will play 15 intra-zone and seven inter-zone matches prior to the play-offs.

Zone A consists of Dabang Delhi, Jaipur Pink Panthers, Puneri Paltan, U Mumba, Haryana Steelers and Gujarat Fortunegiants while Zone B will have Telugu Titans, Bengaluru Bulls, Patna Pirates, Bengal Warriors, UP Yoddha and Tamil Thalaivas.

The play-offs stage will comprise three qualifiers and two eliminators, which are scheduled to take place in Mumbai and Chennai. The final will be held on Ocober 28 in Chennai.

This edition will have a larger prize money of Rs 8 crore ($1,244,800) – a significant and unprecedented jump of Rs 6 crore – with the title winners taking home Rs 3 crore ($466,800).

The runners-up will be awarded Rs 1.8 crore ($280,080), while the team that finishes in the third place will win Rs 1.2 crore ($186,720).

The Most Valuable Player prize is also receiving a boost this season, with the awardee set to win Rs 15 lakh ($23,340).