PBL 2018: Top 5 Bargain Buys Of The Season
The fourth season of Pro Badminton League kicks off on 22nd December in Mumbai and the three-week festival will end on 14th January when the two best teams compete for the trophy in the final. This season sees the introduction of Pune 7 Aces, a team co-owned by Bollywood celebrity Taapsee Pannu making it a 9-team league instead of the usual 8-team league.
The auction for this season happened back in October and none of the teams were allowed to retain any player or use their 'Right to Match' card to give a democratic chance to the new Pune-based franchise.
While the auction saw the usual suspects, Saina Nehwal, PV Sindhu, Carolina Marin, Victor Axelsen, Kidambi Srikanth, HS Prannoy, Sung Ji Hyun and Lee Yong Dae go for the maximum price (Rs. 80 Lacs), there were several smart buys to balance out the squad dynamics. Let's look at five of the best bargain buys.
#5 Beiwen Zhang- 39 Lacs
While 39 Lacs is not a small price, getting a player at the peak of her game can be called a bargain.
The 28-year old has won a lot of tournaments including Brasil Open, US Open, US Grand Prix and the Dutch Open (thrice) in her career. She had a good 2018 season, with the India Open win being the highlight. The American beat PV Sindhu in the final, who had the crowd support's with her.
B Zhang is consistently found in the top 15 rankings in women's singles (currently ranked 12) would be taking the responsibility in women's singles for Awadhe Warriors with Rasika Raje (Ranked 95 in world) as her understudy in the squad.
#4 Parupalli Kashyap- 5 Lacs
P Kashyap was bought by Chennai Smashers for a mere price of 5 Lacs. He plays men's singles and is currently ranked 58th in the world.
The 32-year old is an experienced player who has won a bronze medal in men's singles at the Common Wealth Games 2010 and ultimately won the gold medal as well in the 2014 CWG games. In 2012, he also became the first Indian to reach the quarter-finals in badminton in an Olympic event.
Earlier this year, he won the Austrian International Open which was his only achievement of the whole season. Although he is not the same player he was back in 2014, his valued experience can come to good use in the Chennai squad. He will be sharing the men's singles baton with Rajiv Ouseph and Chong Wei Fang for the Smashers this season.