Armed with a well-prepared shopping list, each of the six franchisees of the Indian Badminton League went for some calculated bidding. In the end, some teams appeared better than the rest.
A closer look at the composition of the teams reveals that Hyderabad and Mumbai have the right balance to go all the way.
Let us take a look at the priority of the franchisees when 36 Indians attracted a total of $861,000!
Hyderabad achieved its main objective of bagging Saina Nehwal. Given her lack of form and fitness, Saina may prove vulnerable against some of the other leading women.
But her presence gives Hyderabad immense gains on and off the court.
In men’s singles, a steady Ajay Jayaram and the temperamental Taufik Hidayat — for a total of just $40,000 — proved a good buy. The recently-retired Hidayat is still capable of pulling off matches, more so as the second singles player.
What lends Hyderabad the teeth in men’s doubles is the presence of World No. 17 Malaysians V. Shem Goh and Khim Wah Lim, that too for only $20,000!
Thereafter, Hyderabad did not mind spending $74,000 to put together Tarun Kona and Pradnya Gadre for mixed doubles. After all, it had spent just $50,000 on overseas recruits.
Mumbai, with Lee Chong Wei virtually ensuring one match in every tie and All England women’s champion Tine Baun tough to crack, got World No. 11 Germany’s Marc Zwiebler surprisingly cheap for his base price of $15,000.
Turning to doubles, specialists Pranav Chopra and Manu Attri, along with Sikki Reddy makes Mumbai a formidable force.
Up next, Bangalore looks strong. It focused more on singles and went for Hu Yun and P. Kashyap, ranked sixth and 13th among men.
Later, the choice of Tai Tzu Ying and Carolina Marin, placed eighth and 26 in the women’s world list, appeared justified.
The scratch pair of World No. 3 Carsten Magensen and Akshay Diwalkar can exceed expectations, while Aparna Balan looks a certainty in mixed doubles.
Pune can trouble the opposition. Juliane Schenk, seen as grossly overpriced at $90,000, along with men’s World No. 3 Nyugen Tien Minh and former National champion Saurabh Verma appear challenging.
Ashwini Ponnappa may well join hand with Denmark’s mixed doubles specialist Joachim Fischer Nielsen, ranked fourth. Also in the midst is another doubles specialist Malaysia’s Wee Kiong Tan.
Delhi, after falling short of bagging Lee Chong Wei, settled for the World No. 2 men’s pair of Kien Kean Koo and Boon Hoeng Tan.
The team also reunited G. Jwala and V. Diju for mixed doubles.
But the challenge in singles looks inadequate. Men’s World No. 12 Wing Ki Wong has youngsters H.S. Prannoy and Sai Praneeth for company.
Also, former National women’s runner-up Arundhati Pantwane does not inspire confidence.
Lucknow will rely on P.V. Sindhu, men’s World No. 16 Weng Fei Chong, Gurusaidutt or K. Srikanth besides the former Olympic and 2010 Asiad men’s doubles gold medallist Marcis Kido. Overall, the combination lacks the winning edge.