PBL auction: Axelsen, Saina, Sindhu up for grabs

133 players from 11 countries will be available for the Premier Badminton League (PBL) players' auction on Monday.

All eyes will be on ace India shuttlers P.V. Sindhu and Saina Nehwal at the PBL auction in Hyderabad on Monday.   -  G.P. SAMPATH KUMAR

World champion Viktor Axelsen of Denmark and Chinese Taipei's Tai Tzu Ying will be among 133 players from 11 countries available for the Premier Badminton League (PBL) players' auction on Monday. Players from China, Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Germany and Hong Kong, among others, will be up for grabs.

Among women, Rio Olympic champion Carolina Marin, World No. 2 P. V. Sindhu, and Saina Nehwal will be the leading stars to feature in the auction.

Read: Know more about PBL and the auctions

Each franchise will be allowed to spend Rs 2.12 crore on their team, and up to Rs. 72 lakh to buy one player.

As many as 10 Olympic medallists (including 3 multiple medal winners) and eight medallists from the recently-concluded World Championships have confirmed their presence in the Rs. 6 crore league, which gets under way in December. Interestingly, China will also be well represented this time, with their World No. 11 men’s singles player Tian Houwei putting his hat in the ring.

The players who have been given the 'icon' status are Viktor Axelsen, Son Wan Ho, K. Srikanth, Tzu Wei Wang among men and Tai Tzu, Carolina Marin, P.V. Sindhu, Saina Nehwal, Sung Ji Hyun in the women’s section.

'Quantum leap'

BAI president and Chairman of PBL Dr. Himanta Biswa Sarma, said in a statement that the League has become a global brand in badminton and the emergence of major players from across the world was testimony to this.

Atul Pande, Managing Director of Sportzlive, also noticed the rising stature of the league. “The league has been growing in stature every year. We believe it will take a quantum leap this year. Our goal is to make it the most admired Olympic sports league in the country, if not the world.”

“All the available players will go through the auction process, with the six existing teams allowed to invoke their ‘Right to Match’ (RTM) option. This will not only make the bidding process more intriguing but will also test the strategic acumen of each team,” he said.

The 24-day league will see eight teams — Delhi Acers, Mumbai Rockets, Bengaluru Blasters, Chennai Smashers, Hyderabad Hunters, North Eastern Warriors, Ahmedabad Smash Masters and Awadhe Warriors — in action.