The fourth season the Premier Badminton League is all set to commence on 22nd December 2018. 9 teams – Hyderabad Hunters, Bengaluru Raptors, Awadhe Warriors, Mumbai Rockets, Delhi Dashers, Chennai Smashers, Ahmedabad Smash Masters, Northeastern Warriors and the new addition Pune 7 Aces will fight for the title over the course of next month.
In the auctions held in October this year, PV Sindhu, Saina Nehwal and World Champion Carolina Marin, Kidambi Srikanth, HS Prannoy, Viktor Axelsen and Lee Yong Dae were the top buys each fetching Rs. 80 lakhs.
Here are the top players to look out for :
1. PV Sindhu
World number 2, PV Sindhu recently made history by becoming the first Indian to win gold at the World Tour Finals in Guangzhou, China. She will be playing for the Hyderabad Hunters in the Premier Badminton League along with Eom Hye Won, Kim Sa Rang, Lee Hyun il from South Korea, Bodin Issara from Thailand, Mark Caljouw from the Netherlands and Indians Sai Uttejitha Rao, Meghna J, Rahul Yadav.
2. Saina Nehwal
Saina Nehwal made News because of her recently concluded wedding with Parupalli Kashyap. The World number 12 will be playing for the Northeastern Warriors alongside Kim Ha Na and Yoo Yeon Seong from South Korea, Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk from Thailand, Tian Houwei from China, Chinese Taipei’s Liao Min Chun and Indians K Maneesha, Dhruv Kapila, Siril Verma and Rituparna Das.
3. Srikanth Kidambi
The Padmashri and Arjuna Awardee Shrikant Kidambi will play for Bengaluru Raptors. The World Number 8 will play together with Indonesians – Mohd Ahsan and Hendra Setiawan, English – Lauren Smith and Marcus Ellis, Vietnamese – Vu Thi Trang and Nygun Tien Minh and Indians – Sanjana Santosh, Sai Praneeth and Mithun Manjunath.
4. Viktor Alexsen
The Danish badminton player is currently World number 1. He won the Gold medal at the 2017 BWF World Championship in Glasgow, Scotland. He also has an Olympic bronze medal at the Rio Olympics under his belt. He will lead the Ahmedabad Smash Masters in PBL 4 and play alongside Indians Anoushka Parikh, Sikki Reddy, Satwiksairaj Rankireddy, Vaishnavi Bhale and Sourabh Verma, Lee Chun Hei (Hong Kong), Kirsty Gilmour (Switzerland) and Darren Liew (Malaysia).
5. Carolina Marin
The Spanish Carolina Marin is currently World number 4. She is the reigning Olympic Champion, three-time World Champion, four-time European Champion and a former World’s No. 1 in BWF rankings for the women’s singles. She will play for the newly added Tapsee Pannu owned Pune 7 Aces. Marin will play along with Indians – Chirag Shetty, Lakshya Sen, Ajay Jayaram and Prajakta Sawant, Danish – Mathias Boe and Line Kjaersfeldt, Vladimir Ivanov (Russia), Brice Leverdez (France) and Sony Dwi Kuncoro (Indonesia).
6. Sung Ji Hyun
The South Korean badminton star is currently ranked number 3. She will lead the Chennai Smashers. Her team includes Gabby Adcock, Chris Adcock and Rajiv Ouseph from England, Or Chin Chung (Hong Kong), Chong Wei Feng (Malaysia) and Rutaparna Panda, Saili Rane and Parupalli Kashyap from India.
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