North Eastern Warriors are in search of their maiden Premier Badminton League title. They will be in action against defending champions Bengaluru Raptors on Day 2 of the 21-day badminton extravaganza.
In PBL, young Indian shuttlers will have the opportunity to brush shoulders with some of the World's best players. Seven teams will be vying to lay their hands on the title this time around and badminton enthusiasts around the world can once again gear up for some scintillating action ahead of 2020 Tokyo Olympics. The likes of PV Sindhu, Tai Tzu Ying, Parupalli Kashyap, and rising players like Lakshya Sen will be featuring in the league.
The North Eastern Warriors have also put together a balanced team for Season 5. With the drama set to unfold at PBL, here is their squad analysis -
Men’s Singles: Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk, Lee Cheuk Yiu, Kaushal Dharmamer
Thailand's Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk is a highly experienced Singles shuttler. The 29-year-old has won 260 of the 477 career singles matches played in his career. Last year, the southpaw finished runner-up at the Indonesia Masters (Super 100) as well as the U.S Open (Super 500). Tanongsak currently holds a rank of 34 in Men's Singles and will be looking to lead the North Eastern Warriors in the category.
Lee Cheuk Yiu is another exceptionally talented Men's Singles player. The Hong Kong International has won 119 of the 199 career singles matches played. 23-year-old Yiu was the champion of the 2019 Hong Kong Open (Super 500) tournament and currently holds a rank of 23. Another notable triumph of the right-handed shuttler is winning the New Zealand Open in 2017. Yiu is one of the rising youngsters in the International circuit and has the ability to give stiff competition to just about any player in PBL.
Kaushal Dharmamer is ranked 126th in the World. The young Indian shuttler has won 72 of the 104 career singles matches he has played. A winner of the Myanmar International Series in 2019, Kaushal will look to make the most of any opportunities he gets in the PBL.
Men’s Doubles: Lee Yong Dae, Bodin Isara, Krishna Prasad Garaga
Lee Yong Dae of South Korea partners with Kim Gi Jung in the International circuit and the duo are currently 26th in the World. The former World No.1 doubles player is highly experienced. Lee has won two medals at the Olympic Games - Gold at the 2008 edition in Mixed doubles and Bronze at the 2012 edition in Men's doubles.
The 31-year-old also has three silver medals at the World Championships (2007, 2009, 2014) - all in the Men's doubles category. Lee is a highly decorated player and with his experience, the North Eastern Warriors look one of the best sides in the Men's doubles category. Lee Yong Dae and Kim Gi-Jung recently won the gold at the 2020 Malaysia Masters. The South Korean ace has a phenomenal 592 wins in 730 career doubles matches played.
Thailand's Bodin Isara is likely to pair up with Lee Yong Dae. The southpaw and his International partner Maneepong Jongjit are ranked 39th in the world right now. Bodin has played 307 career Men's doubles matches out of which he has won 186. The 29-year-old is likely to feature in Mixed Doubles as well. Bodin has fantastic power and if he gels well with Lee Yong Dae early on the pair can be lethal for any opponents.
19-year-old Krishna Prasad Garaga will be the backup option in the category. The Indian shuttler is fairly experienced and can handle the big stage if called upon.
Women’s Singles: Michelle Li, Ashmita Chaliha
Michelle Li is the Marquee foreign Women's player with the Warriors. The ace Canadian shuttler is currently ranked 8th in the world and has vast experience at the top level. Li has won 333 of the 484 career singles matches she has played.
The Markham-born player won gold at the 2014 Commonwealth Games. Last year, she won the Macau Open (Super 300) tournament by defeating Han Yue in the final. She also finished runners up at the 2019 Chinese Taipei Open (Super 300). The Canadian is a tough nut to crack on the court and is expected to give stiff competition to other top singles players in opposition teams.
India's Ashmita Chaliha has played 48 career singles matches and won 33 of them. The 20-year-old from Guwahati is a highly rated player and touted as one of the future Indian stars in the sport. She was a part of the Women's team that won gold at the 2019 South Asian Games and also won the gold in the Women's singles category.
Ashmita's other achievements include a gold medal each at the Dubai International and Tata Open India International (both in 2018). The talented youngster might play an important role for the North Eastern Warriors in a few of the matches.
Mixed Doubles: Kim Ha Na, Rutaparna Panda
South Korea's Kim Ha Na is an experienced Mixed doubles shuttler. The 2013 Asian Championships gold medallist also achieved the World Ranking of No. 1 in Mixed doubles back in December 2016.
The 30-year-old finished runners-up at 2 BWF International Series tournaments last season - namely the Nepal International and Dubai International. She also won the 2019 Hungarian International with partner Kim Sa-rang. Kim has a total of 340 Career Mixed doubles appearances and she has won 237 of those encounters.
Rutaparna Panda is currently ranked 105th in Mixed doubles with fellow Indian shuttler Ramchandran Shlok. Panda finished runners-up at the Lagos International last year and also won the gold medal at the 2019 Ghana International. The Odisha-born shuttler has won 24 of the 41 Mixed Doubles matches played in her career. She is a bright young shuttler and adds a lot of dynamism to the North Eastern Warriors.
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