Sai Praneeth: Hyderabad Hunters has a ‘perfect mix’ of players

The team has a good chance of winning the Premier Badminton League this season, according to the National champion.

Some members of the Hyderabad Hunters squad at a promotional event on Tuesday.   -  V. V. Subrahmanyam

Hyderabad Hunters has a good chance of winning the Premier Badminton League this season because “it has wonderful balance with a perfect mix of young talent and experienced players,” according to B. Sai Praneeth.

Read: PBL has transformed Indian players, says Gopi Chand

Hunters has a quality line-up this season; it possesses the likes of Rio 2016 gold medallist Carolina Marin and world championship bronze medallist Lee Hyun-il. Praneeth, the highest-ranked Indian in the side, however, cautioned that the league will be a competitive one. “Well, the addition of two more teams (Ahmedabad Smash Masters and North Eastern Warriors) will also mean this time around the PBL will be more challenging than the last edition as nothing can be predicted till the last match,” he said.

‘Plenty of options’

Coach Rajendra Kumar indicated preference for a gradual approach to the team’s campaign. “We wish to focus on our strengths even while working to get a good start to our campaign. Importantly, we have plenty of options because of very good doubles combinations,” he said.

V. R. K. Rao, the owner, declared his intention to promote young talent, identifying the best and grooming them over a long run. His franchise, Rao said, would conduct the biggest ever camp for sub-juniors at the Gopi Chand Academy. “We have more or less retained the core team for the coming PBL and are confident of emerging champions this time as we have some world-class players who can raise the bar,” he said.

Rao also revealed Hunters will start a full-fledged badminton academy next month in Gandipet near here. “Our desire is to stay in touch with the sport through the year and not just during the PBL,” he said.

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