Harpal Singh Bedi / New Delhi
Olympic medallists PV Sindhu, Saina Nehiwal along with K.Srikanth and HS Prannoy were sold for maximum prize of Rs 80 lakh each at the Premier Badminton League (PBL) auction here on Monday.
Top International stars who also earned the maximum amount include Rio Olympic champion Carolina Marin, Danish shuttler Viktor Axelsen, South Korea’s Sung Ji Hyun and Lee Yong Dae.
As per the rules of the auction, the maximum amount that a player could be bought for is 80 lakh rupees and India’s top shuttlers got that amount.
PV Sindhu was bought by defending champions Hyderabad Hunters, while Saina Nehwal, after going unsold in the first round, was bought by North Eastern Warriors for the same amount
Sindhu had represented Chennai Smashers and the team had won the title by defeating Mumbai Rockets 4-3 in the final.
Saina, was bought as the icon player by the North Eastern Warriors for Rs 80 lakh. They also included South Korean player Yeon Seong Yu in the team. Apart from this, they bought Kim Ha Naa, another South Korean player, for Rs 40 lakh. Saina had earlier represented the Awadhe Warriors for the past three editions.
“PBL Season 4 is coming up. I am really happy to know that I am with the North Eastern Warriors. So, really looking forward to play,” Saina said in a Twitter video.
Kidambi Srikanth, who in the last season, had represented the Awadh Warriors, will be playing for the Bangalore Raptor this seasons.
Carolina Marin was bought by debutant franchise Pune 7 Aces. World No.9 Sung Ji Hyun was snapped up by Chennai Smashers. Former World No.1 Victor Axelsen of Denmark was picked up by Ahmedabad Smash Masters . While South Korea’s Sung Ji Hyun and Lee Yong Dae also went for the same amount to Chennai Smashers and Mumbai, respectively.
The Awadh Warriors spent Rs 70 lakh on South Korean Son Wan Ho while Pune paid Rs 50 lakh for Denmark’s Mathias Boe.
Teenaged sensation Lakshya Sen was bought by Pune for Rs 11 lakh while another youngster Satwiksairaj Rankireddy went for a whopping Rs 52 lakh to the Ahmedabad Smash Masters.
Chennai Smashers, who will have Korean Sung ji Hyun as their icon player, managed to retain the services of English mixed doubles combination of Chris and Gabby Adcock, paying them INR 54 lakh and INR 36 lakh respectively.
Korea’s mixed doubles specialist Eom Hye Won also got a Rs 30 lakh jump from her base price of Rs 7 lakh as the Hyderabad Hunters secured her to build a strong doubles unit.
Two teams — Awadhe Warriors and Mumbai Rockets — exhausted their entire purse of Rs 2.6 crore while Pune 7 Aces despite putting up a challenging line up managed to save Rs 14 lakhs and North Eastern Warriors despite building a formidable squad around Nehwal still saved Rs 8 lakhs.
Delhi Dashers who broke the bank to get Sugiarto in the squad after they had already paid Rs 80 lakh for Prannoy. However, their strategy clearly was to invest in men’s singles and they made the most of it.
“We are thrilled to announce our team Delhi Dashers and the choicest players for this season of Premier Badminton League 2018. Led by H S Prannoy and Indonesian champion Tommy Sugiarto, we are confident that the team will perform well and emerge victorious this season. ” said Mahendra Singhi, Group CEO, Dalmia Cement (Bharat) Ltd, the company which owns the team.