PBL 2018: 3 Players set to make a mark
The month of December has come with a lot of promises for the badminton season. The recent podium finish of PV Sindhu at the year-ending BWF World Tour Finals as the first Indian woman to have clinched the elusive title has boosted hope in the right direction.
For a year which witnessed a lot of near-miss victories, the time has come for the tables to be turned around with the impressive performance given by Sindhu and Sameer Verma at Guangzhou of late, just in time for the fourth edition of the Vodafone Premiere Badminton League that is waiting to set the ball rolling inside the National Sports Club, Mumbai from the 22nd of this month!
The previous editions of the PBL saw the usual names of a PV Sindhu, Saina Nehwal, Carolina Marin, Kidambi Srikanth dominating the game and stealing all the thunder. However, this season promises to host an array of both amateur and experienced players in a seasoned balance.
Badminton on the men's front had been disappointing this year except for Sameer Verma's recent success in the BWF Tour Finals. The other players have fallen short surprisingly and it has not been the most successful year of the Indians. But PBL can act like a redeeming ground for several players headed this way.
There is the legendary Lee Yong Dae, the icon player of the Mumbai Rockets who was bought for a whopping 80 lakh who is bound to set the standards high for the team. There is also the retired Chinese Houwei Tian playing for the Saina Nehwal led North Eastern Warriors who is also touted to give an impressive performance this season.
The PV Sindhu-led brigade of Hyderabad Hunters also has Lee Hyun Il who just became the oldest player to lift the BWF Tour Finals title and is in fine form to add a dash of brilliance to this edition of the PBL!
Here's a list of players who are motivated to grab eyeballs for their team and leave a mark:
#3 Sameer Verma
The 24-year-old boy from Dhar, Madhya Pradesh has made quite a name for himself in a season where other male players fell short. The World Number 14 player had one of the best seasons and is still running on the high of finishing as a semi-finalist at the year-ending BWF World Tour Finals held in Guangzhou, China.
This was the first time that Verma had qualified for the prestigious event and he made sure his performance announced him as a new formidable force to reckon with. En route to the Finals, Sameer also won the Hyderabad Open, the Swiss Open and the Syed Modi International and has been the most consistent performer on the big stage this year.
An integral part of the Mumbai Rockets team, Sameer is the one to watch out for this season. Considering the brilliant form he is in of late, the Mumbai team will be banking on Verma to channelize his excellence in the PBL too! And it is safe to predict that they won't be disappointed in hoping so.