PBL: An exciting fare awaits

The 2017 edition of Premier Badminton League will begin with a mouth-watering clash featuring the Rio Olympic finalists Carolina Marin and P. V. Sindhu. But there are more crisp, 11-point format matches lined up in the tournament with top players in the mix.

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Some of the leading shuttlers including Rio Olympics gold medallist Carolina Marin and silver medallist P.V. Sindhu at the launch of the 2017 Premier Badminton League in Hyderabad.   -  K. V. S. Giri

For the connoisseurs, there can’t be a better sight than two high-profile contests featuring Olympic medallists. Rio silver-medallist P. V. Sindhu of Chennai Smashers will take on the gold medal winner Carolina Marin of Hyderabad Hunters when the 2017 Premier Badminton League (PBL) commences at the Gachibowli Indoor Stadium here on Sunday.

On Monday, World No. 10 Saina Nehwal will spearhead Awadhe Warriors' challenge against Marin's Hunters. These great names battling for their teams in 11-point games should satiate the hunger of the badminton lovers here.

Interestingly, on Sunday, Sindhu, will be in a Chennai outfit in her hometown of Hyderabad. And Marin, reprsenting the Hyderabadi team, will expect the crowd to be on her side.

An additional Spanish touch to the Hunters is coach Fernando Rivas, who has trained Marin.

"We have been training really hard for this tournament," he says, "The short duration of the event also means that everyone will need to be at their physical best to win the League.

"The 11-point game format just adds to the challenges we are going to face in the course of the tournament where the games are going to be thick and fast, but I’m very confident that the team will rise to the occasion and come out victorious."

Hunters also has England No. 1 Rajiv Ouseph, 2016 Olympics silver medallist in men’s doubles Tan Wee Kiong, 2016 Hong Kong Open finalist Sameer Verma, and local boy B. Sai Praneeth.

"Obviously, it will be a great match between Marin and Sindhu. But, I believe the result at the end of the tie will matter the most. We, as a team, will look forward to perform together rather than resting on private laurels as our main aim is to win the title and not just shine individually."

"Of course individual performance would count, but as a team our main focus would be to translate that into a collective success and go past the finish line," says the Hunters coach.

This edition of the PBL here will also see other big names like World No. 2 Jan O Jorgensen of Denmark and G. Jwala (Delhi Acers), Kidambi Srikanth (Awadhe Warriors), 2016 Dubai BWF Super Series final winner and World No. 3 Viktor Axelsen and Ashwini Ponnappa (Bengaluru Blasters), seasoned campaigner Tommy Sugiarto and Parupalli Kashyap (Chennai Smashers), former Olympics mixed doubles gold medalist Lee Yong Dae and former World championship bronze medallist Sing Ji Hyun (Mumbai Rockets).

By all means, the Hyderabad leg of the league will be an exciting fare before it moves on to Mumbai, Lucknow, Bengaluru and Delhi, where the semifinals and final are scheduled.