Teams retain Sharath Kamal, Manika ahead of UTT 2024

New Delhi, Jun 16 (PTI) Experienced Indian paddlers Achanta Sharath Kamal and Manika Batra were on Sunday retained by their respective franchises for the upcoming edition of Ultimate Table Tennis to be held in Chennai from August 22 till September 7.

Sharath Kamal will continue to represent last season’s runner-up side Chennai Lions, while Batra will play for Bengaluru Smashers.

Defending champions Goa Challengers have retained Harmeet Desai, who played a pivotal role in their success last season, while Sathiyan Gnanasekaran will continue with Dabang Delhi TTC.

U Mumba TT have also extended their association with talented youngster Manav Thakkar for yet another season.

The tournament will be an eight-team competition for the first time, expanding from a six-team set-up from the previous four seasons, with Ahmedabad SG Pipers and Jaipur Patriots being the latest additions.

As per the event’s rules, the six existing franchises were allowed to retain one Indian player, with Puneri Paltan TT deciding not to retain any player.

Newcomers Jaipur and Ahmedabad will select a player of their choice in the opening round of the player draft. The first round will have only three picks.

All eight franchises have picked up a foreigner and an Indian coach from the coach draft and will now be focusing on building a six-player squad, which will have four Indians and two foreigners (a male and a female).

With the arrival of the two new sides, the tournament format changes as the eight teams will now be split into two groups of four teams each.

Each franchise will play five ties during the league stage, facing the other three teams within their respective group and two randomly selected teams from the other group once.

The top two teams from each group will then qualify for the semi-finals.

“Over the years, the franchises have not only looked to win titles but also focused on building the core of their team around their star player who can lead the team,” UTT promoters Niraj Bajaj and Vita Dani said in a joint statement.

“The same thought process is visible in the player retention for UTT 2024 as we see the five franchises sticking to their star performers for yet another season.”

Source: PTI News


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