India captain Anup Kumar was among the seven players retained by U Mumba for season five of the Pro Kabaddi League, it was announced by the organisers here on Monday.
Besides Anup, who led U Mumba to the title in the second season and the final in the third edition, Rahul Chaudhari (Telugu Titans), Meraj Sheykh (Dabang Delhi), Jang Kun Lee (Bengal Warriors), Ashish Kumar (Bengaluru Bulls), Pardeep Narwal (Patna Pirates) and Deepak Hooda (Puneri Paltan) were retained.
Inaugural champions Jaipur Pink Panthers, however, did not retain any player.
"I am obliged to be retained by my family, my team U-Mumba for the fourth consecutive season. Pro Kabaddi Season 5 is going to be bigger and better in terms of four new teams, more matches, longer duration and endless action on the mat," said Anup, who led India in the victorious Kabaddi World Cup campaign last year.
"I look forward to play the next season and wish all the four new teams Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana all the best for the same," he added.
Rahul, who is the most successful raider in Pro Kabaddi history, said: "I am delighted to return to Telugu Titans. I am looking forward to the auctions to see the composition of the team where we are expecting new talent to participate as well."
"PKL has given Kabaddi a platform like no other domestic sport in India. I also want to welcome the four new teams -- Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana -- to Season five which will be bigger than ever before. Telugu Titans have their eyes set on the trophy."
Recently, the organisers of the league Star announced the inclusion of four new teams while announcing VIVO as the new title sponsors for the next five years.
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).