The stage is set for the inaugural edition of the Pro Volleyball League that will kick start with a match between Kochi Blue Spikers and U Mumba Volley here at the Rajiv Gandhi Indoor stadium today.
Speaking ahead of the sport, Kochi captain Mohan Ukkrapandian said, “Finally, the moment which we have been waiting has arrived. The league a much-needed boost as it gives us a platform to compete with the best in the world. I hope the fans take to the league in a fitting manner.” Kochi Blue Spikers, who will be playing the first match of the league today, will be led by India captain Ukkrapandian. The experienced Indian pro has been one of the key profiles in the Indian volleyball setup for the last decade, participating in three Asian Games.
Kochi’s opponent in the first match U Mumba Volley will be led by the 28-year-old Dipesh Sinha from Chhattisgarh. The blocker is an exciting prospect who has had a journey filled with hurdles making his way into the Indian team from the Naxalite affected district of Dantewada.
Chennai Spartans will see veteran blocker Shelton Moses lead the team. The 34-year-old who is a product of the Tiruchi Sports Hostel, has had a distinguished career with the senior Indian team between 2007 and 2011.
Calicut Heroes, the second franchise from Kerala, have decided to rely on Kerala’s star Universal Jerome Vinith to lead the pack. Jerome has been part of the last two Asian Games teams and he was also the second highest scorer for India at the 18th Asian Games.
Ranjit Singh, the costliest player of the inaugural auction, will be leading the Ahmedabad Defenders. The star setter has also featured in the last two Asian Games.
The first season will see a total of 18 matches where each team will play against each other in a round robin format. The 18 matches are divided in two legs to be held in two cities Kochi and Chennai. The first twelve matches will take place in Kochi while the remaining six matches, including the two semifinals and the final, is going to be held in Chennai. The Rajiv Gandhi Stadium in Kochi and Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Chennai will be the two venues for the matches of the inaugural season of the league.