Mumbai: Mumbai Rockets players H.S. Prannoy and Ajay Jayaram are keen to go one step further in this season of the Premier Badminton League after they lost to Delhi Acers in the final last year. Injury plagued Prannoy, who has slipped to 29th in the Badminton World Federation rankings after a career-high of 12 last year is hoping at an injury-free 2017.
“We had a great season last year and missed the title by a whisker. We want to win it this time. We have a great team and everyone is in good form. Personally I want to remain injury free and play without pressure in big matches,” Prannoy said.
It will be homecoming for Jayaram who started playing badminton in Mumbai and will be competing Mumbai Rockets for the first time. “I am excited to be part of Mumbai Rockets this year. We had a great last year in the PBL and this year the build-up has been bigger. It will be thrilling action for two weeks,” Jayaram who made into Dutch Open final recently, said.
Shreyansh Jaiswal is the third men’s singles player in the squad. The six-team PBL is scheduled from January 1 to 14. The Mumbai Rockets have Sung Ji Hyun of South Korea, the current world no. 5 to bank upon in women’s singles along with Vrushali Gummadi. The team, under head coach Vijaydeep Singh, also comprises Lee Yong Dae (Korea), Nipithphon Phusnhphupet (Th-ailand), Chirag Shetty Mohita Sachdev and N Zieba (Poland) to play in the pairs events.
Chief national badminton coach Pullela Gopichand said Mumbai Rockets are a strong side. “Both Ajay and Prannoy have done well internationally and are in good form. “Mumbai always has a strong team. It is one of the top teams in PBL which is a good sign,” Gopichand said.