Ahmedabad Smash Masters splurged a staggering Rs. 62 lakhs to acquire India’s HS Prannoy, making him the costliest player at the auction of the Premier Badminton League. Other top players like PV Sindhu, Saina Nehwal, and Kidambi Srikanth were retained by their respective franchises.
The biggest headline of the day was made by newcomer Ahmedabad Smash Masters as they went out of their way to spend Rs. 62 lakhs and acquire marquee player Prannoy. The former Mumbai Rockets player had some impressive runs in 2017 and currently ranked among the Top-20 in the BWF rankings.
He defeated Lee Chong Wei, reigning Olympic Silver medalist and Chen Long reigning Olympic Champion in consecutive matches of the Indonesian Open. In the US Open, he defeated Vietnamese Tien Minh Nguyen to reach the finals and beat compatriot Parupalli Kashyap to lift the title.
PV Sindhu, one of the most desired players in the auction, was understandably retained by defending champions Chennai Smashers. The 22-year-old Olympic silver medalist, who recently won a silver at the World Championship in Glasgow and became the first Indian to win the Korea Super Series, cost them a whopping Rs. 48.75 lakhs. She had fetched Rs. 39 lakhs during the last auction, which reflected the rise in price.
Saina Nehwal was retained by Awadhe Warriors for Rs 41.25 lakhs. Despite not having the best of forms of late, Glasgow’s bronze medalist will definitely hold a huge strength for the Warriors. She was retained for the base price of Rs. 33 lakhs last season.
Every player retained by their former side got a 25% hike in his/her salary from last year, while players who were bought by using the 'Right-To-Match' card only gets a 10% increase from the last year's selling price. Hence, Kidambi Srikanth, who clinched back-to-back titles at Indonesia and Australia, was retained by the Warriors for Rs. 56.1 lakhs.
Among other doubles players retained were India's Satwik Sairaj, Korea's Lee Young Dae, and Russia's Vladimir Ivanov.
Another new team North Eastern Warriors got a gem of a
Bengaluru Blasters got hold of new world champion and world no. 1 Viktor Axelsen of Denmark for Rs. 50 lakhs. The world no. 2 Son Wan Ho and women's world no. 5 Sung Ji Hyun went to Delhi Acers for Rs. 50 lakhs each.
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