PBL finally lands in Chennai

When the five-day Chennai leg of the PBL begins at the Nehru Indoor Stadium here on Friday, organisers are expecting a good turn-out at the Nehru Indoor Stadium.

(From right) Viktor Axelsen, Tai Tzu Ying, H.S. Prannoy and Prasad Mangipudi, Excutive Director, SportzLive at a press conference held in Chennai on Thursday.   -  M. Vedhan

 

It might be the third season of the Premier Badminton League, but for those in Chennai it will be the first. As the last two editions couldn’t be held due to several reasons, the city will be eager to watch some of the world’s best in action.

When the five-day Chennai leg of the PBL begins at the Nehru Indoor Stadium here on Friday, organisers are expecting a good turn-out at the Nehru Indoor Stadium. The leg is crucial for it will effectively determine the semifinalists.

Chennai matches (all matches at 7 p.m.):

January 5: Bengaluru Blasters vs North Eastern Warriors

Jan. 6: Chennai Smashers vs Ahmedabad Smash Masters

Jan .7: Hyderabad Hunters vs Awadhe Warriors

Jan. 8: Chennai Smashers vs Bengaluru Blasters

Jan. 9: Mumbai Rockets vs Ahmedabad Smash Masters

Though it is early stages yet, with none of the teams having played its quota of five matches, the signs are that Awadhe Warriors, Bengaluru Blasters, Ahmedabad Smash Masters will qualify for the last four. And the last spot might be a fight between Delhi Dashers and Hyderabad Hunters. Chennai Smashers might be without the services of mixed doubles specialist Gabrielle Adcock after she injured her ankle against Delhi Dashers on Wednesday. With seven points from three ties, things look difficult for the P.V. Sindhu-led team.

Barring Delhi, all the teams will be playing in the southern metropolis.

Viktor Axelsen, World No.1 and reigning World champion, representing Bengaluru Blasters, at a press conference here, said: “If we are able to keep the team spirit, and play in the same way as we had done thus far, we will go far in the league.”

Mangipudi Prasad, Executive Director, Sportzlive Pvt. Ltd., was excited with the response from the city as 2,500 tickets have been already been sold. “Chennai has always been a sports-loving city. It has set the record for single largest sales for one match. We will, hopefully, be having a full house on January 6 (Saturday) when Chennai (Smashers) play. It is a huge record for any badminton match in the country,” he said. “We feel vindicated of hosting it in Chennai.”

World No.10 H. S. Prannoy of Ahmedabad Smash Masters has been having a dream in PBL-2 and 3, having remained unbeaten so far. The 25-year-old said his success has been due to his love for the team event. “...It is not just about you playing for yourself. You are playing for he entire team. The energy and the spirit is always high in a team event. If I am able to give that energy to the bench then that is the best thing I can give to the team,” he said.