PBL auction: Bengaluru poach Tai Tzu

Tai Tzu Ying

World champion P V Sindhu was on Tuesday retained by Hyderabad Hunters for Rs 77 lakh in the auction for the fifth season of the Premier Badminton League, which will take place from January 20 to February 9.

World number 1 women’s singles player Tai Tzu Ying of Chinese Taipei was also bought for joint highest amount of Rs 77 lakh here by defending champions Bengaluru Raptors after a bidding war with the Pune 7 Aces.

There was intense bidding for India’s men’s doubles poster boy, Satwiksairaj Rankireddy, who won the Thailand Open in August alongside Chirag Shetty. The 19-year-old eventually went to the Chennai Superstarz for a whopping Rs 62 lakh.

“I am really happy to be a part of the Chennai team. I have many friends in Chennai and I am looking forward to play there. Every time we have played there the crowd has been exceptional and to represent them this season will surely be something that I am looking forward to,” said Rankireddy.

Korea’s World No. 22 doubles ace Ko Sung Hyun and Hong Kong’s World No. 24 singles exponent Lee Cheuk Yiu were the only other shuttlers to cross the Rs 50 lakh mark as the former went to Awadhe Warriors for Rs 55 lakh while the latter was purchased by the North Eastern Warriors for Rs 50 lakh.

Parupalli Kashyap, the 2014 Commonwealth Games champion, was the next costliest Indian shuttler to be sold to Mumbai Rockets for Rs 43 lakh while Lakshya Sen, who won four titles in the past two months, will turn out for Chennai colours after the Season 2 champions purchased him for Rs 36 lakh.

Another top Indian player B Sai Praneeth was also retained by Benagluru Raptors for Rs 32 lakh.

Among other Indians who were retained by their respective franchises are men’s doubles players B Sumeeth Reddy (Rs 11 lakh by Chennai Superstarz) and Chirag Shetty (Rs 15.5 lakh by Pune 7 Aces).

World number 9 American women’s singles player Beiwan Zhang too has been retained by Awadhe Warriors for Rs 39 lakh. National badminton coach Pullela Gopichand’s daughter Gayatri Gopichand was picked up by Chennai Superstarz for Rs 2 lakh.

The PBL season 5 lost some sheen after London Olympics bronze medallist Saina Nehwal and Kidambi Srikanth pulled out of the event to focus on their international careers.

The next edition of PBL will see a total of 74 Indian shuttlers in action from January 20 to February 9.

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