Bhubaneswar: Mumbai Khiladis on Sunday announced Aniket Pote, a native of Mumbai, as the captain for the upcoming second edition of the Ultimate KhoKho, slated to take place from December 24 to January 14, 2024, in Cuttack, Odisha. At 26 years old, Aniket, known for his versatile skills as an all-rounder and attacker, stands out as one of the most accomplished players in the KhoKho circuit. His notable achievements include clinching gold medals for India, including a stellar performance at the recent Asian Championship.
Aniket’s outstanding performance in Season 1 not only earned him recognition but also secured him a coveted spot in the Ultimate KhoKho Dream Team. With an impressive record of eight gold and five silver medals at the senior nationals, Aniket is revered for his commitment and dedication on the mat. His role as a crucial player is pivotal for the Mumbai Khiladis, who have strategically invested in a youthful and dynamic team this season.
Team owner Punit Balan, present at the announcement ceremony in Bhubaneswar, emphasized the strategic decision behind selecting Aniket Pote as the captain for Season 2. Punit praised Aniket’s exceptional performance in the previous edition and highlighted his demonstrated leadership qualities on the mat. Being a local Mumbai boy, Aniket’s understanding of the city’s spirit is deemed valuable, and the team believes that his experience will galvanize them towards success in the highly competitive season.
Expressing his excitement and gratitude for the captaincy, Aniket acknowledged the unexpected nature of the decision but pledged to give his best to repay the management’s faith and lead the Mumbai Khiladis to greater heights.
In addition to naming Aniket Pote as captain, the Mumbai Khiladis appointed 27-year-old defender Mahesh Shinde as the vice-captain. Mahesh, a standout defender from the previous season with a defending time of 15:33 minutes, brings experience and reliability to the team.
The multidimensional Mumbai Khiladis, gearing up for Season 2, boast a squad featuring 13 all-rounders. Notable additions to the team include Sreejesh S, a top-five defender from Season 1, and the seasoned all-rounder Subhasis Santra. The squad also welcomes 16-year-old Sunil Patra, injecting more energy, vigour, and speed into the playing lineup.
Currently undergoing rigorous training at the Biju Patnaik Indoor Stadium, KIIT campus, Bhubaneswar, Odisha, the team, under the guidance of Head coach Vikas Suryavanshi and Assistant coach Nitul Das, is honing their skills in preparation for the upcoming season.