PBL 2018: All you need to know about the Chennai Smashers
The name ‘Chennai Smashers’ is very apt for the team, who smashed their way to the Premier Badminton League (PBL) title in the last season. India’s golden girl, PV Sindhu brought her powerful smashes to the fore to lead the yellow brigade to glory.
With the Rio Olympic silver medallist in their squad in this edition as well, they cannot be called over-ambitious for fancying their chances once again. After all, their icon player did have her first consistent season on the Tour, which was dotted with two Superseries titles, a Grand Prix Gold title, a World Championships silver medal and a runner-up finish at the World Superseries Finals.
The 22-year-old, who looked listless since her Korea Open triumph, might have got back her confidence just in time for the PBL. And when the World No. 3 Sindhu is on court, one expects nothing short of fireworks from the Pullela Gopichand protégé.
19-year-old Vrushali Gummadi is there in the squad too and can very well pick up the nuances of the game from her senior compatriot.
Their men’s singles challenge is led by two top-25 players -- the 17th ranked Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk and the 24th ranked Brice Leverdez. However, they pale in comparison when they are pitted against men’s singles players from other PBL teams. Neither of them can boast of a highly successful 2017 season on the Tour, which inevitably puts a bit of pressure on their shoulders.
Both of them failed to reach a final this past season and need to step up to the challenge if they hope to see the Smashers as the champions again.
20-year-old Daniel Farid is one of the two rising Indian stars in the men’s singles discipline, who will hope to make the most of this priceless opportunity. World No. 108 Aditya Joshi is the other one, although he is slightly older in age and more accomplished. The Ethiopia International runner-up will look to use this platform to take his game to the next level.
Adcocks look to produce magic again
The Smashers look very strong in the mixed doubles section, thanks to the presence of the World No. 5 pair of Chris and Gabrielle Adcock. The two played a pivotal role in the last edition during Chennai’s title-winning campaign.
The Adcocks are the reigning European champions and grabbed a bronze medal at the World Championships this year. They will once again aim to display their fabulous chemistry and understanding on the court in the upcoming season.
The men’s doubles challenge will be spearheaded by the French Open champion, Yang Lee of Chinese Taipei. The 22-year-old, who is currently ranked seventh, has been one of the most consistent performers in the recently-concluded season and will look to use the PBL as a launchpad for 2018.
India’s highly experienced B Sumeeth Reddy is the other men’s doubles exponent in the squad. He and Manu Attri did not have the best of seasons, but the two did find their touch at the Senior National Championships, where they saved multiple match points to win the title.
That was a much-needed boost for the former India No. 1 pair and that surely restored their faith in themselves. Reddy should be itching to replicate that performance at the PBL and play a major role in Chennai’s title defence.
Men’s singles - Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk, Brice Leverdez, Aditya Joshi, Daniel Farid
Women’s singles - PV Sindhu, Vrushali Gummadi
Men’s doubles - Yang Lee, B Sumeeth Reddy
Mixed doubles - Chris Adcock, Gabrielle Adcock
Coach: Arun Vishnu