Pradnya still in disbelief over IBL windfall

Pradnya still in disbelief over IBL windfall

Pradnya Gadre is still wide-eyed about her windfall in the Indian Badminton League auction and said she had to keep cross-checking with people to believe she was indeed bought for a whopping $46,000.

Pradnya fetched way beyond her base price of $10,000 after being aggressively fought over by Lucknow Warriors and Hyderabad Hotshots. She was finally bought by the Hyderabad outfit that also got the big players Saina Nehwal and former World and Olympic champion Taufik Hidayat.

“I was not expecting this. I thought it will go to a maximum of $20-25,000. But when I was told the real amount, I kept cross-checking with everybody. It was unbelievable. My family and my coaches are really happy,” said the 22-year-old Nashik-born doubles player, who trains at the Pullela Gopichand Academy in Hyderabad.

In fact, Pradnya, a national doubles champion, has earned the most among doubles players in the country and pipped even some of the singles players. A knee injury a couple of years ago made her stick to the doubles format. The decision she believed worked wonders for her as she won the Swiss Open international challenge and finished runners up in Bulgaria with Prajakta Sawant in 2010 before teaming up with Ashwini Ponnappa.

Pradnya insisted there would be no undue pressure on her to perform in IBL because of her high pricing. “Irrespective of the price, there is always a pressure to perform if you are selected to play for a team. And if they have picked you, it means they have some confidence in you. I have belief in my abilities and will do my best for my franchise,” she said.

Pradnya was quite excited at the prospect of meeting Hidayat. “I will really like to watch Taufik closely, how he plays and his match temperament. He has been my idol.”

The IBL auction, though, has left her doubles partner Ashwini quite bitter. Ashwini ($25,000) and Jwala Gutta (31,000), the two icon players, were bought for much lesser price after their base price was reduced to half at the last minute. “I have spoken to Ashwini and yeah she is hurt," Pradnya said.

For the moment Pradnya, who is fresh from winning the mixed and women’s doubles titles in the VV Natu Memorial All-India ranking tournament, would prefer to focus at the forthcoming World Championships.

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