There was a lot of hype surrounding the auction of the Premier Badminton League (PBL) and it surely did live up to its expectation. In what comes as no surprise PV Sindu, Saina Nehwal and Carolina Marin were the top buys of the night, fetching the maximum bidding price of Rs 80 lakh on Monday.
Considering the league will be a nine-team affair with the addition of a new franchise Pune Seven Aces, the organizers decided to hold a fresh auction where teams would need to build from scratch. This meant the players returned to the auction pool for the first time since 2015 and with no right to match card at the team's disposal. the auction was always going to be a keen contest with teams looking to get their team composition right including their one icon player.
The new franchise Pune Seven Aces made Rio Olympic 2016 medallist Carolina Marin their first buy by grabbing the Spaniard for a whopping price of Rs 80 lakh. The Spaniard who played an important role in helping Hyderabad Warriors to the title last year, now shifts base to Pune.
India's badminton queen PV Sindhu who finished second to Marin in Rio, was bought by defending champions Hyderabad Hunters for Rs 80 lakh. Like Marin, Sindhu also fetched the maximum bid for a player.
Similarly, Saina Nehwal also was the maximum bid player at the auction. The bronze medalist at the London 2012 Olympics, who earlier plied her trade with the Awadhe Warrios, will now move to the North Eastern Warriors. Saina Nehwal expressed her delight on social media upon knowing she was picked for the North Eastern Warriors.
Among the other big names in badminton, former world champion Viktor Axelsen was picked up by the Ahmedabad Smash Masters for Rs 80 lakh, while Kidambi Srikanth will turn up for Bengaluru Raptors for the same amount.
Indonesia's Tommy Sugiarto became the highest paid non-Icon Player with the Dalmia Cement Group owned Delhi Dashers splurging INR 70 lakh for his services. The Delhi outfit won a tense battle with two other teams to acquire the World No 11, paying INR 40 lakh above his base price.
Among the Indians, rising doubles star Satwiksairaj Rankireddy was the top draw and Padmanabh Sports Pvt Ltd owned Ahmedabad Smash Masters outbid the Hyderabad Hunters to secure the youngster for INR 52 lakh, a massive jump from his base price of INR 15 lakh.
The fourth season of Vodafone Premier Badmintin League, organised by Sportzlive under the aegis of Badminton Association of India, will get underway in Mumbai on December 22 with the final being held in Bengaluru on January 13.
(with PTI inputs)