Hyderabad: India’s World No.15 shuttler HS Prannoy hit the jackpot as he became the costliest player with Rs 62 lakh when he was bought by the new entrants Ahmedabad Smash Masters in the Premier Badminton League (PBL) players’ auction here on Monday.
However, high-profile players like PV Sindhu, Kidambi Srikanth and Saina Nehwal missed out on the big purse as they were retained by their respective teams. The retained players will be paid a raise of 25 per cent from their previous price. Thus, Srikanth is set to get Rs 56 lakh while Sindhu will be richer by Rs 48.75 lakh. Saina Nehwal, who was retained by Awadh Warriors, will get Rs 41.25 lakh.
World No. 11 Tian Howei, the first-time entrant from China in the PBL league, is the second best buy in the day as he was grabbed for Rs 58 lakh by Delhi Acers. The recently retired South Korean player Shin Baek Cheol also grabbed eyeballs when was bought for a Rs 55 lakh. North Easter Warriors bought the player spending the whopping money owing to his ability to play both men’s and mixed’s doubles and singles if required.
In that way, the teams were clever in spending big purses as most teams chose doubles speciallists, who can be an added advantage by playing both men’s and mixed doubles. This was event as doubles speciallists Yoo Yeon-Seong from South Korea (Rs 53 lakh by Hyderabad Hunters), Chris Adcock (Rs 54 lakh by Chennai Smashers) commanded good amount.
The women’s World No.1 Tai Tzu Ying from Taiwan was bought by Ahmedeabad franchise for Rs 52 lakh while men’s No.1 Viktor Axelsen attracted a bid of Rs 50 lakh from Bengaluru Blasters. Olympic gold medallist from Spain, Carolina Marin, will once again don the colours of Hyderabad Hunters as the team management bought her for Rs 50 lakh. Sung Ji Hyun also attracted a price or Rs 50 lakh from Delhi Acers. Hunters’ management also retained B Sai Praneeth after using their Right To Match card for Rs 40 lakh against Bengaluru Blasters.
Illustration By: Telangana Today
Prannoy had sparked a bidding war between Ahmadabad franchise and Mumbai Rackets with the former finally pocketing him. Speaking about his high price, Prannoy said that he was surprised to see such a high price for him in the actions. “Frankly, I didn’t expect this much money. I expected around 25 to 30 per cent high. But this is not what I expected. I think I am lucky in the auctions. May be, the timing of the name in the auctions and the money in management’s purse could be the reason for the high price. I am lucky in that matter. I think, this is also because of some good results in the past one year,” he said.
When asked whether the price tag could put him under any sort of pressure, Prannoy said: “Not at all. I don’t think all these when I am on court. I want to give my best and win matches for my team,” he added.
Notable Indian players like Sameer Varma and Ajay Jayaram also went for good amounts with the former grabbing Rs 52 lakh and the latter Rs 40 by Mumbai Rackets and North Eastern Warriors respectively.
As many as 117 players went under the hammer in the day with eight teams allowed to buy a maximum of 11 players. Each team also needed to have a junior player in their rank. Any Indian player ranked below 50 in under-15 or under-17 is eligible for the auction. “With the cap of Rs 2.4 cr to each team, we want to maintain the balance and give real value to the players. The retained players were paid an extra of 25 per cent of their previous salaries,” PBL secretary Prasad explained.