Hyderabad: Men’s world No.1 Viktor Axelsen of Denmark, Son Wan Ho of South Korea, women’s World No.1 Tai Tzu Ying of Chinese Taipei, Rio Olympic champion Carolina Marin (Spain) and India’s P.V. Sindhu and Saina Nehwal are expected to be the top draws at the Players’ Auctions for the third edition of the Vodafone Premier Badminton League (PBL) here on Monday.
As many as 10 Olympic medallists (including three multiple medal winners) and eight medalists from the recently concluded BWF World Championships have confirmed their presence which will make it one of the finest fields assembled when the League gets under way in December.
The auction assumes even more significance as India’s men players, led by Kidambi Srikanth, have also been on a roll in recent times. It is expected to enhance the quality of the championship, while also exciting the Indian fans even more.
Interestingly, China will also be well represented this time, with their World No.11 men’s singles player Tian Houwei putting in his hat in the ring.
Each of the eight franchises are allowed to spend Rs 2.12 crore on their team. Each team can splurge a maximum of Rs 72 lakh on one player.
The league will begin on December 22 and conclude on January 14 and will enthrall fans at international standard venues in Mumbai, Hyderabad, Lucknow, Chennai and Guwahati.
Axelsen, Son and Srikanth of India among men and Tai Tzu, Marin, Sindhu, Saina, Sung Ji Hyun of South Korea and Tzu Wei Wang of Taiwan have been granted Icon status.
Players from as many as 11 countries, including China, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Germany and Hong Kong will be up for grabs in the mega auction.
All the available players will go through the auction process, with the six existing teams allowed to invoke their ‘Right to Match’ (RTM) option. This will not only make the bidding process more intriguing but will also test the strategic acumen of each team. The 24-day league will see eight teams, namely Delhi Acers, Mumbai Rockets, Bengaluru Blasters, Chennai Smashers, Hyderabad Hunters, North Eastern Warriors, Ahmedabad Smash Masters and Awadhe Warriors in action.