U.P. Yoddhas - owned by the GMR Group - begin their Pro Kabaddi League (PKL) Season 9 campaign against Jaipur Pink Panthers on Friday, October 7.

Kabaddi fans will be eager to see the teams showcase some early promise of form on the mat, having made noteworthy changes to their rosters following the PKL 9 auction earlier this year.

While U.P. Yoddha re-signed PKL’s best raider, Pardeep Narwal, for the latest edition, all eyes will be on Nitin Tomar who returns to the franchise for the first time since 2017. Jaipur, meanwhile, will place their hopes on raider Arjun Deshwal to pocket maximum raid points.

Players to watch out for - UP Yoddha

After an indifferent first season at the Yoddhas, Pardeep Narwal will have a point to prove in the opening fixture of Pro Kabaddi League Season 9. The ‘Dubki King’, who has the most raid points (1,348) in PKL history, will constantly threaten Jaipur’s defenders.

When it comes to defence, captain Nitesh Kumar will be a force to reckon with. One of U.P. Yoddhas’ greatest players, Nitesh will be tasked with restricting the likes of raiders V Ajith Kumar and Arjun Deshwal.

Players to watch out for - Jaipur Pink Panthers

Besides Arjun Deshwal and Rahul Chaudhari, Jaipur Pink Panthers will look up to V Ajith Kumar to score raid points on Friday. Ajith, who previously turned out U Mumba at PKL 8, has 280 raid points from 39 career matches and will be eager to add to the tally courtesy of a big haul against U.P. Yoddhas.

In defence, Sunil Kumar will be responsible for keeping Pardeep Narwal in check. Sunil, the most expensive Indian defender at PKL 9, joined Jaipur Pink Panthers after four seasons with Gujarat Giants. His tally of 217 career tackle points asserts his status as one of the tough nuts in the backline for any kabaddi team he plays with.

Jaipur Pink Panthers vs U.P. Yoddhas | Head-to-Head

Jaipur Pink Panthers and U.P. Yoddhas have faced each other seven times, with the Yoddhas winning four matchups. Jaipur Pink Panthers, meanwhile, have claimed three wins.

In PKL 8, the two teams met twice, with Jaipur winning 32-29 the first time and the U.P. Yoddhas winning 41-34 in the reverse fixture.

U.P. Yoddhas squad

Pardeep Narwal, Nitin Tomar, Rathan K, James Namaba Kamweti, Gulveer Singh, Surender Gill, Anil Kumar, Durgesh Kumar, Aman, Rohit Tomar, Mahipal, Abozar Mohajer Mighani, Babu Murugasan, Jaideep, Sumit, Nitesh Kumar, Ashu Singh, Shubham Kumar, Gurdeep, Nehal Desai, Nitin Panwar

Jaipur Pink Panthers squad

Rahul Chaudhari, Bhavani Rajput, Arjun Deshwal, V Ajith Kumar, Navneet, Nitin Panwar, Devank, Sunil Kumar, Ankush, Nitin Chandel, Sahul Kumar, Deepak Singh, Lucky Sharma, Ashish, Abhishek KS, Woosan Ko, Reza Mirbagheri, Rahul Dhanawade