After losing in the final and in the semis of the last two editions of the PBL, the Awadhe Warriors will be hoping to go the distance this time around. The Lucknow-based franchise will be led by Saina Nehwal once again as she looks to get back to her best after a season troubled by injuries.
Saina Nehwal, who surprisingly went unsold in the first round of the PBL auction, was eventually retained by the Awadhe Warriors for her base price of Rs 33 lakhs. The 26-year-old has seen her spotlight being snatched away by PV Sindhu after the Rio Olympics, and she will be keen to prove her worth once again.
The World No.10 will find support from Kidambi Srikanth, who finished the year at No.15 in the rankings. The 23-year-old had won the Syed Modi International and a couple of gold medals at the South Asian Games last year before reaching the quarterfinals of the Olympics by beating the current World No.2 Jorgensen. 2017 is going to be a crucial year for him, and he will hope to begin it on the right note at the PBL. He did fetch the highest amount by an Indian in the auction as Awadhe Warriors shelled out Rs 51 lakhs to buy the former Bengaluru Topguns star.
World no. 17 Wong Wing Ki Vincent will also feature in the men’s singles for Awadhe Warriors along with former World No.1 in doubles Markis Kido. The 32-year-old veteran might not be at the top of his game anymore, but his experience will help in guiding the younger players in the dressing room.
Awadhe Warriors open their campaign on January 2 against Hyderabad Hunters in Hyderabad.
Fixture list -
January 2 – Awadhe Warriors vs Hyderabad Hunters
January 5 - Awadhe Warriors vs Delhi Acers
January 6 - Awadhe Warriors vs Mumbai Rockets
January 9 - Awadhe Warriors vs Bengaluru Blasters
January 11 - Awadhe Warriors vs Chennai Smashers
Srikanth Kidambi (India), Wong Wing Ki Vincent (Hong Kong), Aditya Joshi (India), Rituparna Das (India), Saina Nehwal (India), Bodin Isara (Thailand), Goh Wei Shem (Malaysia), Markis Kido (Indonesia), Savitree Amitrapali (Thailand), and Prajakta Sawant (India)