H.S. Prannoy emerged the biggest surprise packet of the Premier Badminton League (PBL) auction held here as Ahmedabad Smash Masters bought him for ₹62 lakh as top Indian shuttlers P. V. Sindhu and Saina Nehwal were retained by their respective franchises at the players auction here on Monday.
Each retained player gets a 25 per cent hike in his/her salary from last year, while players bought by using the 'Right-To-Match' card get a 10 per cent increase from
the last year's selling price.
Defending champion Chennai Smashers retained Olympic silver-medallist Sindhu for Rs 48.75 lakhs. The 22-year-old, who recently won a silver at the World Championship at Glasgow and clinched the Korea Super Series, had fetched Rs 39 lakhs during the last auction.
Saina, who had returned with a bronze medal from Glasgow, was retained for Rs.41,25,000. She was retained by Awadhe Warriors for the base price of Rs 33 lakhs last season.
Kidambi Srikanth, who clinched back-to-back titles at Indonesia and Australia, will continue play for his old team Awadhe Warriors, after it used the 'Right To Match' card. He will now earn Rs 56,10,000.
Among others, doubles players -- India's Satwik Sairaj, Korea's Lee Young Dae and Russia's Vladimir Ivanov -- were all retained by their old teams and were not be part of the
According to the rules, old teams can retain one player and the franchise can use one right to match card, while new teams can use one right to match card for players who are making their debut in PBL.
There will be 11 players in each franchise with a maximum of five foreign players and minimum of three women players and each team need to spend minimum of Rs. 2.12 crore.
The players auction started after more than two hours delay and the first player to go under the hammer was the women's world no. 1 Tai Tzu Ying, one of the nine icon players, who was bought by Ahmedabad Smash Masters for Rs 52 lakhs.
Rio Olympics gold-medallist Carolina Marin from Spain was bought by Hyderabad Hunters, the team she played last season, for a base price of Rs 50 lakhs.
Newly crowned world champion and World No. 1 Denmark's Viktor Axelsen was bought by his old team Bengaluru Blasters for Rs 50 lakhs, while world number 2 Son Wan Ho and World number 5 Sung Ji Hyun went to Delhi Acers for Rs 50 lakh each.
Chinese Taipei's Tzu Wei Wang, who is ranked 10th in the world in men's singles, will be the icon player for North Eastern Warriors after he was bought by the side for Rs 52 lakhs.
Olympics doubles silver-medallist, Christinna Pedersen became the most expensive doubles player after she was picked up by Awadhe Warriors for Rs 42 lakh. Pedersen's partner, Kamilla Rytter Juhl, went to Ahmedabad Smash Masters for Rs 35 lakhs.
Doubles specialists Prajakta Sawant and Chirag Shetty were bought by North Eastern Warriors for Rs 7 lakhs and 5 lakhs respectively, while India's top doubles shuttler Ashwini Ponnappa went to Delhi Acers for Rs 20 lacs and Manu Attri was picked by Bengaluru Blasters for Rs 17 lakh.
India's top men's mixed doubles player, Pranaav Jerry Chopra, was signed up by Delhi Acers for Rs 18 lacs, while young doubles player Arathi Sara Sunil will make her PBL debut for Delhi Acers, who bought her for Rs 3 lakhs.
V.V. Subrahmanyam from Hyderabad adds : A delighted Prannoy, who played for Mumbai Rockets last season admitted he was lucky. "I didn’t expect this kind of a bid. I thought I might go for ₹10 or 15 lakh more (last time his price was ₹25 lakh), but this is amazing."
K.Ch. Punnaiah Choudhary, BAI secretary (tournaments) divulged a long-term plan. “This time around, each franchise should have one under-17 player (boy or girl) in its squad who should be ranked either in the top 50 of national rankings or be the State champion. This player will be paid ₹2 lakh and will be part of the team for the entire season."