Top shuttlers went under the hammer at the rechristened Premier badminton League (PBL) players’ auction in New Delhi on Monday.
The Indian supergirl Saina Nehwal, and the former world number one Lee Chong Wei, fresh from his scintillating win over Olympic Champion Lin Dan, were the costliest buys, going for $100,000. Both were sold in a closed-door auction in which five franchises bid $100,000 — the maximum permissible amount — for the Indian superstar. The decision was reached through a lottery as part of the new PBL rules.
Saina will play for the Awadh Warriors of Lucknow while Hyderabad Hunters were lucky to get Lee in the draw.
Indian sensation P.V. Sindhu and Kidambi Srikanth were bought for $95,000 and $80,000 respectively.
Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai, were engaged in an aggressive bidding for Sindhu, before Chennai Smashers finally sealed the deal.
P. Kashyap went for $35,000 to Hyderabad Hunters, while the 2010 Commonwealth Games champion Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa,went for their base price of $25,000 to their homes cities — Hyderabad and Bengaluru. Mumbai bought HS Prannoy for $47,000 and Russia’s Vladimir Ivanov for $42,000.
Delhi spent a whopping $74,000 for Indonesia Masters champion Tommy Sugiarto.
BAI had organised Indian Badminton League in 2013 but thereafter for two years — 2014 and 2015 — the League did not take place. The league will take place from January 2 to January 17 in Mumbai.