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Premier Badminton League Season 5 Auction: All you need to know about the Chennai Superstarz

GSK
SENIOR ANALYST
Feature
Modified 21 Dec 2019, 01:10 IST

Satwik Sairaj Rankireddy (right) was the Chennai Superstarz
Satwik Sairaj Rankireddy (right) was the Chennai Superstarz's biggest buy at 62 Lakhs (Image Credits - BAI Media)

The Premier Badminton League Season 5 kick-started its action off in New Delhi as the Player Auction took place for the league scheduled to start on 20th January 2020.

The seven franchises – Awadhe Warriors, Mumbai Rockets, Chennai Superstarz, Bengaluru Raptors, Hyderabad Hunters, North Eastern Warriors and Pune 7 Aces got their think tanks ready to build their squad ahead of the season.

The Chennai franchise, underwent an ownership change and rechristened themself to Chennai Superstarz after having the name ‘Chennai Smashers’ for the past four seasons.

Chennai Superstarz decided to retain the services of their Doubles specialist B. Sumeeth Reddy for the PBL Season 5 at a price of 11 Lakhs. Reddy is a seasoned Men’s Doubles and Mixed Doubles player and was part of the 2016 Asia Team Championship squad for the Indian side. Along with his former Men’s Doubles partner Manu Attri, he became a part of the only pairing to have qualified for the 2016 Rio Summer Olympics for India.

Reddy has won a couple of BWF Grand Prix tournaments and has a total of nine titles of the BWF International Challenge/Series over past six years.

The Chennai Superstarz also managed to reunite the former pairing of Reddy-Attri as they picked up Manu Attri as well for his base price of 10 Lakhs.

To add a splash of youth to their squad, the Superstarz acquired Sanjana Santosh, the 22-year old Women’s Doubles player at the base price of 2 Lakhs. Santosh will provide a handy option for the Mixed Doubles match.

They went on to add some established talents to their roster in the form of British shuttler Gabrielle Adcock, who will further strengthen the Doubles department for the Chennai Superstarz. Adcock is a two-time Commonwealth Games (2014 Glasgow Games and 2018 Gold Coast Games) gold medallist in the Mixed Doubles event where she partners up with her husband Chris Adcock. Along with that, she has won the European Championships as well in 2017 and 2018.

Adcock managed to win a silver medal at the recently concluded 2019 European Games held in Minsk, Belarus and has a career-high rank of World No, 4 in Mixed Doubles and World No. 16 in Women’s Doubles.

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The biggest buy for the Chennai Superstarz was the acquisition of Indian doubles star shuttler Satwik Sairaj Rankireddy for a mammoth sum of 62 Lakhs after an intense bidding war. The bidding ensued from his base price of 25 Lakhs and involved multiple franchises but the Superstarz got their man in the end.

Satwik Sairaj Rankireddy has risen to stardom at a young age of 18 after his impressive showing over the years with Men’s Doubles partner Chirag Shetty and Mixed Doubles partner K. Maneesha. Rankireddy has won a total of 10 titles in the BWF International Challenge/Series category (6 Men’s Doubles and 4 Mixed Doubles) and two BWF World Tour titles in Men’s Doubles.

The crowning moment of glory for the young shuttler was when he won the Men’s Doubles silver medal at the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games and the Mixed Team gold medal for the Indian badminton contingent. Rankireddy will lead the charge for the Men’s Doubles as well Mixed Doubles matches for the Chennai Superstarz in the PBL Season 5.

After strengthening their doubles roster, the Chennai Superstarz added Kirsty Gilmour and Gayatri Gopichand to make up their Women’s Singles shuttlers. Gilmour hails from Scotland and is a multiple medal winner at the Commonwealth Games and European Championships. She won the silver medal at the 2019 European Games held in Minsk earlier this year.

Gilmour currently ranks World No. 23 in Women’s Singles and has earlier ranked as high as World No. 14 providing a solid option for the Chennai Superstarz in the Women’s Singles.

Gayatri Gopichand could prove to be a solid backup option for the Chennai Superstarz franchise. She is the daughter of legendary Indian shuttler and coach Pullela Gopichand.

In the Men’s Singles category, the Chennai Superstarz added four shuttlers – three Indians and one foreign player to boost their roster. The highest-priced buy was current World No. 17 ranked Indonesian shuttler Tommy Sugiarto.

Sugiarto is a veteran of the circuit with one win in the BWF World Tour, BWF Superseries, and multiple time BWF Grand Prix (Five titles) and BWF International Challenge/Series (Seven titles). He has also won two gold medals in the Men’s team event at the Southeast Asian Games.

Lakshya Sen was bought by the Chennai Superstarz for a sum of 36 Lakhs
Lakshya Sen was bought by the Chennai Superstarz for a sum of 36 Lakhs

The second addition to the Men’s Singles category was Lakshya Sen, who was the subject of an intense bidding war between Awadhe Warriors and Chennai Superstarz before being snapped for a price of 36 Lakhs by the Superstarz. Sen has been in fine form over the year winning four titles – two BWF World Tour and two BWF International Challenge/Series titles. Along with Sugiarto, Sen will play a key role for the Chennai Superstarz’s fortunes in PBL Season 5.

The Superstarz completed their squad by picking up Indian youngsters K Sathish Kumar and S Sankar Muthuswamy for their base prices of 1 Lakh each.

Chennai Superstarz have built a strong all-around franchise with solid names in each of their categories and could prove to be a tough competitor in the league.

Chennai Superstarz PBL Season 5 Squad

Men’s singles: Tommy Sugiarto, S. Sankar Muthusamy, Lakshya Sen, K. Sathish Kumar; Men’s doubles: B. Sumeeth Reddy, Satwiksairaj Rankireddy, Manu Attri; Women’s singles: Gayatri Gopi Chand, Kirsty Gilmour; Mixed doubles: Sanjana Santosh, Gabrielle Adcock.

Published 27 Nov 2019, 18:11 IST
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