Big names like three-time World Champion Carolina Marin, Viktor Axelsen, PV Sindhu and Saina Nehwal are all set to be up for the franchises to be roped for the fourth edition of the Premier Badminton League on Monday.
This is the first time that all the players would be present at the auction pool since 2015. No Right to Match (RTM) cards would be there this time because of the introduction of a new franchise Pune. This, the team’s that would fight it out for the title this season are- Delhi Dashers Ahmedabad Smash Masters, Hyderabad Hunters, Chennai Smashes, North Eastern Warriors, Bengaluru Raptors, Mumbai Rockets, Awadhe Warriors and Pune 7 Aces.
A total of 145 players from 23 countries would be a part of the auctions. HS Prannoy would be one ‘Icon player’ among the many present in the auctions, because of his good record in the history of the competition. Each team would be allowed a maximum purse of Rs 2.6 crore with a limited amount of Rs 80 lakh for each player. A player would be assigned to a team through a draw of lots in case of a deadlock.
Some of the other icon players are Marin, Nehwal, Sindhu, Young Dae, Axelsen, Sung Ji Hyun and Son Wan Ho.
Asian junior champion Lakshya Sen has also included himself in the auctions among the 67 domestic players who are in the list.
China’s Tian Houwei, Chai Biao and mixed doubles specialist Wang Sijie would make their debuts in the competition.
Himanta Biswa Sarma, the president of the Badminton Association of India (BAI) the chairman of the PBL was happy because of the involvement of top players in the auctions, which in turn goes to show the growth of the tournament.
“The increased interest of top players in the PBL underlines the growing stature of the tournament which has become a global brand in a short span of time. This edition promises to be a bigger and competitive affair with the ninth team added to the roster,” he said, as quoted by Hindustan Times.
Former International Cricket Council Anti-corruption unit head Ravi Sawani has been roped in as the Chief Anti-corruption and integrity commissioner to ensure that the foul play in the tournament isn’t involved.
Mumbai is set to host the inaugural rounds of the competition with Pune, Ahmedabad, Bengaluru and Hyderabad set to be the other venues.