PBL 2018-19 auctions: Saina, Sindhu, Marin, Srikanth get Rs 8 million each

Taapsee Pannu, co-owner Pune 7 Aces during the auction fo the Vodafone Premier Badminton League 2018-19

P V Sindhu, Saina Nehwal and world champion Carolina Marin were the top buys at the Premier Badminton League (PBL 2018-19) season four auction, fetching the maximum price of Rs 8 million in New Delhi on Monday. The most unexpected buy was the rising doubles star Satwiksairaj Rankireddy who was the highest paid non-Icon Indian player with Rs 5.2 million.

With all players returning to the auction pool for the first time since 2015 and no Right to Match (RTM) card at teams' disposal, the exercise gained more significance with franchisees looking to get the combination right besides their ideal Icon player.

Indonesia's Tommy Sugiarto was the highest paid non-Icon Player with Delhi Dashers splurging Rs 7 million for his services. The Delhi outfit won a tense battle with two other teams to acquire the World No 11, paying Rs 4 million above his base price.

Icon players Marin and Sindhu were the obvious choice for most teams. At least four teams raised the prize purse to Rs 8 million, the maximum limit a team can bid for a player, before the players got assigned to the teams by a draw of lots.

The Spaniard, who played a major role in helping Hyderabad Hunters win the title last year, would now shift base to Pune. The new outfit were clearly gunning for the multiple time world champion Marin and were understandably delighted when the announcer pulled out a chit of their name in a draw of lot.

Among the non-Icon Indians, Rankireddy was the top draw as Ahmedabad Smash Masters outbid the Hyderabad Hunters to secure the youngster for Rs 5.2 million, a massive jump from his base price of Rs 1.5 million.

The fourth season of the PBL will begin in Mumbai on December 22 while the final will be held in Bengaluru on January 13, 2019.

A ninth team, Pune7 Aces, has been added this year and is co-owned by actor Taapsee Pannu. Marin will be playing for her team.

Sindhu, who was playing for Chennai Smashers for the last two seasons, will be playing for her home team Hyderabad while two times CWG gold winner Saina will be seen plying her trade for the North-Eastern Warriors.

"I always had a special admiration for the north-east and with this alliance I wish to promote badminton in this region, so that we have more people inspired to take up the sport," said the 2012 London Olympics bronze medallist.

Among the other Icon Players, former world champion Viktor Axelsen will represent Ahmedabad Smash Masters, Kidambi Srikanth would play for Bengaluru Raptors, HS Prannoy will turn up for Delhi Dashers.

Chennai Smashers, who will have Korean Sung ji Hyun as their Icon player, managed to retain the services of English mixed doubles combination of Chris and Gabby Adcock, paying them Rs 5.4 million and Rs 3.6 million respectively.

Korea's mixed doubles specialist Eom Hye Won also got a Rs 3 million jump from her base price of Rs 700,000 million as the Hyderabad Hunters secured her to build a strong doubles unit.

Here is the icon players list of Pro Badminton league 2018-19 auctions:

  Player Name Country Rank Achievements  Team Price
1 V Axelsen DEN 3 Winner  - European Championship 2018  AHMEDABAD SMASH MASTERS                    
  Finalist  - Blibli Indonesia Open 2018 Rs 8 million
  Semi Finalist - Japan Open 2018  
2 K Srikanth IND 6 Finalist- Common Wealth Games 2018 BENGALURU RAPTORS   
  Semi Finalist- Celcom Axiata Malaysia Open 2018 Rs 8 million
  Quarter Finalist- Badminton Asia Championship 2018  
3 Son Wan Ho KOR 8 Semi Finalist  - Yonex All England Open 2018 AWADHE WARRIORS  
  Semi Finalist  - Daihatsu Indonesia Masters 2018  Rs 7 million
  Quater Finalist  - Asian Games 2018  
4 H.S Prannoy IND 15 Semi Finalist- CommonWealth Games 2018 DELHI DASHERS          
  Semi Finalist  -Badmintion Asia Championship 2018 Rs 8 million
  Quarter Finalist - Yonex All  Englan Open 2018   
5 P.V Sindhu IND 3 Runner Up - Asian Games 2018 HYDERABAD HUNTERS                    
  Runner Up -  BWF World Championship 2018 Rs 8 million
  Runner Up- Toyota Thailand Open 2018  
6 Carolina Marin ESP 5 Gold Medal - BWF World Championship 2018 PUNE 7 ACES  
  Winner - China Open 2018 Rs 8 million
  Winner  - Japan Open 2018  
7 Sung Ji Hyun KOR 9 Semi Finalist  - Blibli Indonesia Open 2018  CHENNAI SMASHERS

Rs 8 million
  Semi Finalist - Badminton Asia Championship 2018  
8 Saina Nehwal IND 11 Winner- Common Wealth Games 2018 NORTHEASTERN WARRIORS  
  Bronze Medal - Asian Games 2018 Rs 8 million
  Quarter Finalist-  BWF World Championship 2018  
9 Lee Yong Dae KOR   Winner- Barcelona Spain Masters 2018 MUMBAI ROCKETS                
    Multiple Olympic Medals Rs 8 million
    More than 45 international titles  

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