Rio Games silver medallist PV Sindhu and London bronze winner Saina Nehwal went for low prices even as current Olympic champion Carolina Marin emerged as the costliest buy at the players auction of the second edition of the Premier Badminton League (PBL), here on Wednesday.
Two-time World Champion Marin was bagged by Hyderabad Hunters for Rs 61.5 lakhs, while male shuttler Kidambi Srikanth, who had reached the quarterfinals at Rio Olympics, fetched the highest amount by an Indian, when he was purchased for Rs 51 lakhs by the Awadhe Warriors after a bidding battle with the Blasters.
Sindhu was unlucky to fetch an amount of just Rs 39 lakhs despite being the best Indian iconic player after her performance at the Rio Olympics.
“In the draw of lots my name came out last so I got less but it is okay. I am just happy to be back with Chennai.
Afterall, no one will think about the money but will remember how Indian badminton is growing and that is what matters,” said Sindhu, who was fetched by Chennai after outbidding Hyderabad by Rs 50,000.
Saina, who alongwith Lee Chong Wei, was the costliest buys at USD 100,000 during the first edition, went unsold in the first round of bidding and was retained by her previous franchise Awadhe Warriors for the base price of Rs 33 lakhs.
“We had the option of right to match and we were waiting for other teams to bid but since no one bid we managed to retain her for the base price,” said Avijit Sarkar, Director, Awadhe Warriors, Sahara India.
Upinder Zutshi, MD and CEO of Infinite Computer Solutions, which owns Delhi Acers, said: “Each team had a different stretegy and were trying to make the best use of the purse and Saina’s name came out in the middle so somehow she went unsold first time.”
South Korean woman shuttler Sung Ji Hyun emerged as the second costliest player as she went to Mumbai Rockets for Rs 60 lakhs, while Denmark’s Jan O’Jorgensen fetched Rs 59 lakhs from defending champions Delhi Acers after a three-way battle between the Acers, the Rockets and the Blasters.
Denmark’s Viktor Axelsen, the Olympic bronze medallist, was bought for a price of Rs 39 lakhs by Bengaluru Blasters, while Wan Ho Son and experienced doubles specialist Yoo Yeon Seong too was fetched at the same price by Delhi and Bengaluru franchise respectively.
A total of 15 iconic players went under the hammer and 12 of them were fetched by the six franchies. Among them, the Hunters landed Wee Kiong Tan of Malaysia for Rs 33 lakhs and the Rockets bought Korea’s star Lee Young Dae for Rs 37.5 lakhs. The Chennai side bought Tommy Sugiarto of Indonesia for Rs 26 lakhs while V Shem Goh of Malaysia (Rs 33 lakhs) went to Lucknow. .