It’s time for another sporting league in India and this time it is a sport that is familiar to a lot of us growing up. Six franchises, Chennai Quick Guns, Gujarat Giants, Mumbai Khiladis, Odisha Juggernauts, Rajasthan Warriors and Telugu Yoddhas, will battle it out for the inaugural season of Ultimate Kho Kho over a period of 22 days at the Shree Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex, Mahalunge, Pune, Maharashtra.

The final will be played on September 4.

Ultimate Kho Kho: A new league, for an age-old homegrown sport that is banking on nostalgia

Here’s what you need to know about the league including format, live broadcast, points system and the squads:

League format

All the teams will play each other twice during the 30-match league stage with the Top 4 teams progressing into knockout stage which will be played in playoffs format. Top 2 teams will fight in Qualifier 1, and the winner will directly enter the final. The Eliminator, on the other hand, will see competition between third and fourth-ranked teams for a place in Qualifier 2, where they will play the loser of Qualifier 1. The final will be played between the winners of Qualifier 1 and Qualifier 2.

Glossary of terms

Match: Each match will be played with two innings.

Batch: A group of three defenders who enter the field is called as batch. There will be four batches comprising of 12 players in a defending team.

Innings: Each match will consist of two innings where both the teams will attack and defend twice with a three-minute break between two innings.

Turn: Each innings will consist of two turns where a team will attack and defend once with two minutes of break between each turn

Timing of match: Each turn will consist of seven minutes with two-minute break

Starting line-up: There will be 12 players in the starting line-up with three additional players as part of the injury substitute. The playing 12 will include two Wazirs too.

Batch playing format: Remaining batch of first innings will start first in the next innings whereas only unbeaten batch i.e in case of all three defenders are not out, has option to start the next innings otherwise each new batch needs to take field again.

Changes at a glance

-Introduction: Wazir and Powerplay. Wazir can move freely in his half, powerplay and review.

-Match duration change: Each match is of two innings with four turns; one innings having two turn of 7 minutes each compared to the traditional Kho-Kho game having turns of 9 minutes each.

-Break times: The new format will have two minutes break between each turn while three minutes break after the end of innings. Traditionally the game has five-minute break between each turn and a six minutes gap between the innings.

- Mat-size revamped: To enhance the pace of the game, the mat size had been reduced to 22mX16m from regular 27mX16m. With a short distance between the attacker and defender, the game will become pacier and witness next level excitement.

- Attacking block dimension changed: The size of attacking blocks, where attackers sit, has also been increased to 40cmX40cm from normal 35cmX30cm to allow attackers to sit comfortably and enabling equal pole-to-pole distance and centre point between poles.

-Change in Point System: Every touch will now earn an attacking team two points. Normally it is one point in traditional Kho-Kho matches. Additionally, there will be one bonus point for some attacks.

Mat dimensions

To enhance the pace of the game, the mat size had been reduced to 22mX16m from regular 27mX16m. With a short distance between the attacker and defender, the game will no longer be the same and will witness more exciting action.

Attacker block: The size of attacking blocks, where attackers sit, has been increased to 40cmX40cm. Generally, it is 35cmX30cm. The increased size of the block will allow attackers to sit comfortably and it will also enable equal pole-to-pole difference and centre point between poles.

Entry box: There will be one entry box for both the teams from where defenders will enter the field.

Coach arena: The coach arena, adjacent to play field, will allow coach to make strategies with the players during breaks.


Points system

2 points: Every simple touch will earn an attacking team two points.

Bonus point: One bonus point will be awarded to the attacking team on three occasions:

-If they capture an opposition player with skilful gameplay like pole dive or sky dive or the defender surrenders (self out/out of field).

This additional bonus point can ensure a total of three points per capture for the attacking side.

Batch bonus: If one batch defends for more than 2 minutes 30 seconds, they will be given two points and then for each 30-second time period, they will keep getting two bonus points until the entire batch gets out or the turn gets over.

Key terms

Wazir: A player taking part in the match as Wazir can move in any direction freely, unlike any other attackers, but only in his attacking half. Points will be awarded the same as a normal player if he captures any player.

Powerplay: The powerplay will allow teams to play with two Wazirs on the field at the same time. However, two wazirs can be activated for one batch only. Once all three players of that batch are out, powerplay will be over. Each team will have only one powerplay in one inning.

Review: Teams will have one review per innings i.e. two reviews for the entire match. A review should be taken within five seconds.

Rest time: There will be a 30-second break after each batch is out i.e, all three defenders. This break will allow teams to make substitutes, strategy and new batch will enter.

With the innings, rest breaks and reviews, the match will be played for a period of approximately one hour. And at the end of both the innings, a team with the most points will be declared as the winner.

Squads and franchise owners

Chennai Quick Guns

Owner: KLO Sports

Head coach: Manohara CA

Players: Mahesh Shinde, Rajvardhan Patil, M Vignesh, Ramji Kashyap, Patta Narsaya, S Santhru, Sibin M, Amit Patil, Manoj Patil, Daasari Rao, V Kabilan, Madan, P Jai Prasath, P Anand Kumar, buchannagari Raju, Vijay Vegad, Sachin Gaur, Pritam Chougule, Balvir Singh, Katla Mohan, Venigopal S, Neelakantam Suresh, Jaswant Singh, Vignesh M

Gujarat Giants

Owner: Adani Sportsline

Head coach: Sanjeev Sharma

Players: Ranjan Shetty, Pothreddy Shivareddy, Mareppa, Suyash Gargate, Sagar Potdar, T Jagannath Das, Rutishbhai Barde, Abhinandan Patil, Akshay Bhangare, Sagar Lengare, Monoj Sarkar, Dhiraj Bhave, S Kavin Raj, Vinayak Pokarde, Govind Bhat, Chinmoy Nandi, Shubham Jambhale, S Sarathkumar, Ajaykumar Mandra, Aniket Pote, Nilesh patil, Saleem Khan, Debendra Nath and Praful Bhange

Mumbai Khiladis

Owner: Badshah and Punit Balan

Head coach: Rajendra Sapte

Players: Milind Kurpe, Rohan Kore, Visag S, Shreejesh S, Vijay Hazare, Faizalkhan Pathan, Abhishek Pathrode, Gajanan Shengal, Durvesh Salunke, Rajesh Kumar, Rohit Verma, Avik Singha, Sribin KP, Saurav Kandpal, Abhishek MS, Bichu SS, Rajat Malik, Rahul Sawant, Harish Mohammad, Devendra Dagur, Gaurav, Srijin J and Ummer Rather

Odisha Juggernauts

Owner: Odisha Sports Development and Promotion Company

Head coach: Ashwani Kumar Sharma

Players: Gowtham MK, Dilip Khandavi, Vishal, Jagannatha Murmu, Aditya Kudale, Nilesh Jadhav, Suraj Lande, Dipesh More, Subhasis Santra, Mahesha P, Avinash Desai, Lipun Mukhi, Dinesh Naik S, Arjun Singh, Suresh Kumar, T Vinod Kumar, Shiv Kumar Sen, Milind Chavrekar, Manoj Ghotekar, Darshanapu Sathish, Gurjinder Singh, Swayam Satyaprakash and Mukesh Prajapat

Rajasthan Warriors

Owner: Capri Global

Head coach: Narendra Kunder

Players: Abhijit Patil, Dilrajsingh Sengar, Sushant Hajare, Akshay Ganpule, Hrushikesh Murchavade, Sourabh Adavkar, Suresh Sawant, Majahar Jamadar, Mohammad Taseen, Shailesh Sankapal, Govind Yadav, SK Murtha Ali, Bharat Pradhan, Nikhil B, Yalla Satish, Jithin B, K Dhananjay Singh, Atla Reddy, Tapan Pal, Mahesh M, Biswajit Das, Ashwani Ranjan, Mukesh Maurya and Bhuvneshwar Sahu

Telugu Yoddhas

Owner: GMR Sports

Head coach: Sumit Bhatia

Players: Pratik Waikar, Rohan Shingade, Sudarshan, Arun S A, Arun Gunki, Deepak Madhav, Avdhut Patil, Prajwal KH, Prajval KH, Adarsh Mohite, Prasad Radye, Subramani Y, Anukul Sarkar, Gavara Venkatesh, Sadanand Meitei, P Hemachandran, Dhruv, Chanish C, Aditya Das, Rokeson Singh, Pitu Reddy and Bojjam Ranjith

Where to watch:

The league will be telecast on Sony Sports Network. SONY TEN 1 (English), SONY TEN 3 (Hindi & Marathi) SONY TEN 4 (Telugu & Tamil) and SonyLIV. Venue tickets available on BookMyShow.

Matches per day:

There will be two matches played each day with live coverage starting at 7:00 PM IST.

Information as provided by league organisers.

Clarifications: The article originally said “A maximum of 20 points can be achieved by the attacking side.” That has now been removed.