Hyderabad: World No 2 P V Sindhu and bronze medalist Saina Nehwal were among the shuttlers who were retained by their respective sides — Chennai Smashers and Awadhe Warriors — while HS Prannoy emerged the biggest buy of the day, going to debutant outfit Ahmedabad Smash Masters at the auction of Premier Badminton League here on Monday.
The auction which started with a delay, saw the world No. 1 women’s player Tai Tzu Ying as the first one out of a total of 117 players to go under the hammer. New entrant Ahmedabad bagged her services for Rs 52 lakh while the newly crowned men’s No.1 Viktor Axelsen was retained by Bengaluru Blasters for Rs 50 lakh.
The surprise of the day was India’s second highest ranked men’s singles player Prannoy who fetched a whopping Rs 62 lakh and will join Tai Tzu in the Ahmedabad squad.
Prannoy, who was purchased by exercising the Right to Match clause, is now the most expensive player in the league. Till Prannoy went under the hammer, Kidambi Srikanth was leading the money charts with Rs 56,10,000 paid by Awadhe Warriors to retain him.
Prannoy was understandably elated. “I am excited to be a part of the new team. Last year I had a good outing, but this season is going to be a bit tough. I am up for it and hope I can help my side reach in semis and final,” he said.
“It was a good auction, I am not considering it (fetching the highest amount) as pressure but this time there is more responsibility on my shoulders,” Prannoy added.
Spaniard Carolina Marin, who was the talk of the town at last year’s auction, was purchased for a sum of Rs 50 lakh, Rs 11.5 lakh more than her previous year’s amount.
A hike of 25 per cent will be awarded to the players who have been retained by their old sides. With this, Olympic siver medallist Sindhu who has been retained by Chennai gets Rs 48.75 lakh (Rs 39 lakh in previous edition) while Saina takes home Rs 41,25,000 (she got Rs 33 lakh last time around).
Speaking to the media, star shuttler Sindhu said, “Me, Chris (Chris Adcock) and Gabby (Gabrielle Adcock) are in the same team and I am happy about the same combination which will be a bonus to us and we will start off well.”
The Hyderabadi shuttler who leads her team’s title defence added: “With two new teams there is no extra pressure on us to defend our title and hopefully we can continue our campaign like previous year.”
The third edition of India’s biggest badminton league which will be held over a period of three weeks will be played on a fifteen-point basis. In addition, to provide more exposure to junior level players, every team will have a U-15 or a U-17 player in their side....