India’s top shuttlers Saina Nehwal, PV Sindhu, K Srikanth and HS Prannoy all were bought for the maximum bid price of Rs 80 lakh in the players auction of the fourth season of the Premier Badminton League on Monday.
Nehwal, who won the Commonwealth Games gold and Asian Games bronze earlier this year, surprisingly went unsold in the first round of auctioning for the designated icon players, but was later awarded to the North Eastern Warriors after a lucky draw, once the bidding touched the maximum limit of Rs 80 lakh.
Sindhu went to the Hyderabad Hunters, Srikanth to the Bengaluru Raptors, and Prannoy to Delhi Dashers, all via the lucky draw. World champion Carolina Marin will play for the new franchise, Pune 7 Aces, after her name also went into the lucky draw once bidding touched Rs 80 lakh.
Former world No 1 Viktor Axelsen went to the Ahmedabad Smash Masters for Rs 80 lakh, while his predecessor Son Wan Ho will play for Awadhe Warriors, who bought the Korean for Rs 70 lakh.
In other notable buys, India’s young doubles specialist Satwiksairaj Rankireddy was snapped up by the Smash Masters after an intense bidding war. The Ahmedabad franchise will pay Rs 52 lakh for the 18-yea-old’s services.
The Adcocks – Chris and Gabby – will play together again, for the Chennai Smashers, after the franchise bought the English couple for a combined Rs 90 lakh. Bollywood star Taapsee Pannu, one of the owners of the new Pune franchise, bought her boyfriend and doubles specialist Mathias Boe for Rs 50 lakh, while Indonesia’s world No 11 singles player Tommy Sugiarto fetched Rs 70 lakh from Delhi Dashers. World No 25 Lee Hyun Il was bought for his base price of Rs 60 lakh by Hyderabad, while Denmark’s Anders Antonsen went to Mumbai Rockets for Rs 55 lakh.
Of all the nine franchises, only Mumbai Rockets and Awadhe Warriors spent their whole purse of Rs 2.6 crore. Ahmedabad Smash Masters were left with Rs 1 lakh, while Delhi Dashers and Hyderabad Hunters both had Rs 2 lakh to spare. Chennai Smashers had the most to spare out of all franchises – Rs 19 lakh.