PBL 2017: Record bid for Carolina Marin, Kidambi Srikanth fetches highest price among Indians
World No. 1 and reigning Olympic women’s singles champion Carolina Marin emerged as the most expensive player at the auction for the second season of the Premier Badminton League (PBL) that got completed at Delhi on Wednesday. The Spaniard fetched a record bid of Rs. 61.5 lakh as she went to the Hyderabad Hunters for the two-week extravaganza that will be held from January 1-14, 2017.
The two-time world champion was one of the biggest names to go under the hammer for the 2017 edition of the pan-India six franchise-based league which would be deprived of the likes of men’s singles legends Lin Dan, Lee Chong Wei and Chen Long.
It is expected that the Spanish superstar will be present at the PBL2 only for a few days.
World No. 8 women’s singles player Sung Ji Hyun was the next costliest player, whose services were acquired by the current runners-up Mumbai Rockets for Rs. 60 lakh. The South Korean was closely followed by the 2015 All England Championships silver medallist Jan O Jorgensen who was bought by the reigning champions Delhi Acers for Rs. 59 lakh.
Sindhu outshines Saina
India’s No. 1 men’s singles shuttler Kidambi Srikanth, currently recuperating from an ankle injury, secured the highest bidding price among all Indians. The World No. 15, who was with the Bengaluru franchise earlier, was taken up by the Awadhe Warriors for Rs 51 lakh this time. The Lucknow team consolidated themselves by retaining the former World No. 1 Saina Nehwal for Rs. 33 lakh as well.
However, the 2012 London Olympic bronze medallist was outshone by the Rio Olympic silver medallist PV Sindhu who fetched Rs. 39 lakh. The cause for that can be attributed to Nehwal’s knee injury from which she is still recovering and thus doubts over her form still linger. The 26-year-old is hoping to make a comeback at next week’s China Open after three months of hiatus.
Among other Indians, Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa, who recently parted ways, were taken up by Delhi and Bengaluru respectively. For Ashwini, this will be her second consecutive time with the Bengaluru franchise, who have rechristened themselves as the Bengaluru Blasters this time.
The in-form Sourabh Varma, who won his maiden Grand Prix title at the Chinese Taipei Masters last month, was snapped up by Bengaluru for a value of Rs. 13 lakh while Ajay Jayaram will make his homecoming for Mumbai for a bid of Rs. 19 lakh.
Commonwealth Games gold medallist Parupalli Kashyap made his move from Hyderabad to the Chennai Smashers this time for a price of Rs. 8 lakh. The place that he vacated was filled up by the 34th ranked B Sai Praneeth, who cost the Hunters Rs. 21 lakh. In contrast, HS Prannoy found a berth in his 2016 team – the Mumbai Rockets – who shelled out Rs. 22 lakhs to retain the Pullela Gopichand ward.
Last season’s MVP (male) Tommy Sugiarto of Indonesia, who played a crucial role in bringing home the title to the Delhi Acers, headed south this time to the Chennai Smashers for Rs. 26 lakh.
The inaugural season of PBL witnessed the Delhi Acers overcoming the challenge of the Mumbai Rockets 4-3 to be crowned the champions.