PBL 2018: All you need to know about the Hyderabad Hunters
Having the Olympic champion Carolina Marin is certainly a matter of pride for the Hyderabad Hunters in the Premier Badminton League (PBL). The Spanish southpaw can not only mesmerize the audience with her attacking fireworks if she is feeling healthy, but can also inspire the whole team to produce their very best.
The Hyderabad franchise has been loyal to the two-time world champion, having retained her for the second season in a row. However, their best finish so far has been a fourth place, which they achieved in the last edition.
Marin’s fitness will be the key if the team from Indian badminton’s hub wants to progress further. The 24-year-old was forced to miss the Dubai World Superseries Finals because of a hip injury. The former World No. 1 has self-admittedly not recovered fully but is confident enough to take the plunge into the sizzling PBL action.
The 22-year-old Rasika Raje, who has just started making rapid strides, will surely benefit a lot from observing Marin and getting to train with her. The fact that Marin’s own coach, Fernando Rivas is the Hunters gaffer can be an added bonus for the entire brigade.
The men’s singles department looks pretty decent with the Singapore Open winner B Sai Praneeth and Denmark Open runner-up Lee Hyun Il being there. At 37, the kind of determination that the former World No. 7 Lee Hyun Il is showing can put youngsters to shame.
The 18th ranked Korean has been setting exemplary performances throughout the season. In the last couple of months, he has won eight matches and is coming to the PBL with a big momentum. The 16th ranked Sai Praneeth, in contrast, did crack the Superseries code this year but has disappeared into oblivion since the World Championships.
World No. 99 Rahul Yadav Chittaboina, who triumphed at the Lagos International, is the third men’s singles player in the squad.
Big boost for Satwiksairaj Rankireddy's career
17-year-old Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Korean superstar, Yoo Yeon-Seong will likely team up in men’s doubles. For the Indian teenager, who reached two Superseries quarter-finals this year, there could not be a better opportunity to learn from one of the sport’s greats.
Seong has been a former World No. 1 in men’s doubles and his illustrious resume shows medals from the World Championships, the Asian Games and the Asian Championships, among other accomplishments. The veteran can definitely help the rising Indian to fine-tune his game.
Former Olympic and world champion Markis Kido is another name from the stellar brigade that the Hunters can boast of. The Indonesian has been a PBL regular and knows exactly what it takes to find success in such a format.
Pia Zebadiah Bernadeth, who has been Kido’s regular mixed doubles partner, is there in the team as well and the two can once again combine to wreak havoc on other pairs. India’s Anoushka Parikh is the other mixed doubles exponent and getting to pick up the nuances of the game from these greats will be a huge boost for her fledgling career.
Men’s singles - B Sai Praneeth, Lee Hyun Il, Rahul Yadav Chittaboina
Women’s singles - Carolina Marin, Rasika Raje
Men’s doubles - Satwiksairaj Rankireddy, Yoo Yeon-Seong
Mixed doubles - Markis Kido, Pia Zebadiah Bernadeth, Anoushka Parikh
Coach: Fernando Rivas