Homecoming for Sindhu, Saina to don North East outfit for 4th season of PBL

Sindhu, Saina, Srikanth reached the maximum bid limit of Rs. 80 lakh and franchises had to rely on lucky draw to get the players on board.

Published : Oct 08, 2018 17:27 IST , NEW DELHI

Pune Seven Aces owner at the PBL Auction on Monday.
Pune Seven Aces owner at the PBL Auction on Monday.

Pune Seven Aces owner at the PBL Auction on Monday.

New entrant Pune Seven Aces did some smart buying at the Players’ Auction and ended up with seemingly the best combination ahead of the Premier Badminton League, beginning on December 22.

When the dust settled after some frantic buying of 90 by nine franchisees here on Monday, Pune could boast of a very good balance, with the Olympic and World champion Carolina Marin, worth Rs. 80 lakh, leading the way.

The team, owned by critically-acclaimed actress Taapsee Pannu, used the purse of Rs 2.6 crore well and bagged a good mix of men’s singles players, including Brice Leverdez and Sony Dwi Kuncoro, apart from the men’s doubles specialists like Mathias Boe and Vladimir Ivanov, both of whom have had a fair amount of success in the past editions of the league.

Read: Saina, Mary Kom emphasise need to embrace challenges

Defending champion Hyderabad Hunters used up Rs. 80 lakh for P. V. Sindhu as did North East Warriors for Saina Nehwal. For the same amount, the 2017 World champion Viktor Axelsen went the way of Ahmedabad Smash Masters, like K. Srikanth was bagged by Bengaluru Raptors. Lee Yong Dae also attracted Rs. 80 lakh from Mumbai Rockets. World No. 1 Son Wan Ho, worth Rs. 70 lakh, will turn up for Awadhe Warriors, which also bid successfully for Ashwini Ponnappa.

Not surprisingly, four teams bid the maximum of Rs. 80 lakh for Marin and Sindhu before the players were assigned to their eventual franchisee by draw of lots.

“We had a set game-plan and I am really ecstatic to be able to rope in some of the big names in the auction pool today,” said Tapsee after the auction. “It has been a perfect implementation of the homework we had done. With a champion in Carolina, experienced Mathias Boe in the doubles category and young Lakshya Sen, I’m really optimistic how balanced the team has shaped up.”

Delhi Dashers found H. S. Prannoy for Rs. 80 lakh and former champion Chennai Smashers was happy to pay a similar amount for the consistent Korean Sung Ji Hyun. In fact, Chennai also bagged the most sought-after mixed doubles pair of Chris Adcock and Gabrielle Adcock.

Among the Indians, Satwiksairaj Rankireddy, whose base price was Rs. 15 lakh, went for Rs. 52 lakh to Ahmedabad, making him the highest paid non-icon Indian player.

There was no retention or Right to Match (RTM) options available to the franchisee. The franchisee could retain a maximum of three players for the next two seasons.

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