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.

Pune Seven Aces owner at the PBL Auction on Monday.   -  SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

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.

Full squads and price in lakh (INR)

Hyderabad Hunters: Men’s Singles: Lee Hyun Il (60), Rahul Yadav Chittaboina (3), Mark Caljouw (7), Women’s Singles: PV Sindhu (80), Sai Uttejitha Rao (1), Men’s Doubles: Kim Sa Rang (45), Arun George (1), Bodin Issara (21), Mixed Doubles: Eom Hey Won (37), Meghana Jakkampudi (3)

Mumbai Rockets: Men’s Singles: Sameer Verma (42), Andres Antonsen (55), Pratul Joshi (1), Women’s Singles: Shriyanshi Pardeshi (1), Anura Prabhudesai (1), Men’s Doubles: Manu Attri 918), Lee Yong Dae (80), Kim Gi Jung (45), Mixed Doubles: Pia Zebadiah (15), Kuhoo Garg (2)

North Eastern Warriors: MS: Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk (20), Tian Houwei (32), AS Siril Verma (3), WS: Saina Nehwal (80), Rituparna Das (6), MD: Yoo Yeon Seong (49), Liao Min Chun (20), Dhruv Kapila (1), XD: Kim Ha Na (40), Kukkapalli Maneesha (1)

Pune 7 Aces: MS: Brice Leverdoez (20), Lakshya Sen (11), Sony Dwi Kuncoro (10), Ajay Jayaram (10), WS: Carolina Marin (80), Line Kjaersfeldt (31), MD: Vladimir Ivonov (17), Mathias Boe (50), Chirag Shetty (14), XD: Prajakta Sawant (3)

Chennai Smashers: MS: P Kashyap (5), Chong Wei Feng (14), Rajiv Ouseph (24), WS: Sung Ji Hyun (80), Saili Rane (1), MD: Or Chin Chung (15), Chris Adcock (54), B Sumeeth Reddy (10), XD: Gabrielle Adcock (36), Rutaparna Panda (2)

Ahmedabad Smash Masters: MS: Sourabh Verma (16), Viktor Axelsen (80), Daren Liew (33), WS: Kirsty Gilmour (26), Vaishnavi Bhale (1), MD: Lee Chun Hei Reginald (18), Satwiksairaj Rankireddy (52), K Nandagopal (1), XD: Sikki Reddy (29), Anoushka Parikh (3)

Awadhe Warriors: MS: Guru Sai Dutt (7), Son Wan Ho (70), Lee Dong Keun (36), WS: Rasika Raje (2), Beiwen Zhang (39), MD: Lee Yang (31), MR Arjun (5), Mathias Christiansen (37), XD: Ashwini Ponnappa (32), Sanyogita Ghorpade (1)

Bengaluru Raptors: MS: K Srikanth (80), B Sai Praneeth (32), Mithun Manjunath (2), Nygun Tein Minh (6), WS: Vu Thi Trang (9), MD: Hendra Setiawan (42), Marcus Ellis (20), Mohammad Ahsan (42), XD: Lauren Smith (20), Sanjana Santosh (2)

Delhi Dashers: MS: HS Prannoy (80), Chirag Sen (1), tommy Sugiarto (70), WS: Evgeniya Kosetskaya (5), MD: Chai Biao (42), Maneepong Jongjit (23), Wang Sijie (15), Vighnesh Devlekar (1), XD: Lee Chia Hsin (20), V Harika (1)