Mumbai Masters bagged World No.1 Lee Chong Wei for a whopping $135,000 against a base price of $50,000 and thereafter strategically built a strong team in the players’ auction of the Indian Badminton League here on Monday.
With the services of reigning All England champion and now-retired Tina Baun, young doubles pair of Pranav Chopra and Manu Attri, and men’s world No. 11, Germany’s Marc Zwiebler at its disposal, Mumbai made optimum use of the cap of $275,000.
With each of the six franchisees entitled to one icon player, Saina Nehwal fetched $120,000 and went the way of Hyderabad Hotshots. Hotshots also managed to add the retired former Olympic champion Taufik Hidayat, Ajay Jayaram and the mixed doubles duo of Tarun Kona and Pradyna Gadre. In fact, Pradyna went for a whopping $46,000 after starting with a base price of $10,000!
Banga Beats takes Kashyap
On a day when 10 players, including four overseas players, formed the shopping list of each franchise, Bangalore’s Banga Beats grabbed P. Kashyap for $75,000, in addition to World No. 6 Hong Kong’s Hu Yun as a second men singles player. Spain’s Carolina Marin (women singles). Denmark’s Carsten Mogensen, ranked third win the world (with Mathias Boe in men’s doubles), will be playing with Akshay Dewalkar. They also have Aparna Balan as a doubles specialist. Strangely, Boe remained unsold at his base price of $50,000.
Delhi Smashers spent $50,000 each on chief coach Rashid Sidek’s Malaysian compatriots Boon Hoeng Tan and Kien Keat Koo, ranked second in men doubles in world rankings. This was undoubtedly Delhi’s prize-catch in a squad that brings back G. Jwala and V. Diju as partners in mixed doubles. Youngsters H. S. Pronnoy and Sai Praneeth along with Hong Kong’s Wing Ki Wong form the options in men singles. World No. 16 Thailand’s Nichaon Jindapon will be first choice for ladies singles.
Sindhu for Lucknow
The Warriors (from Lucknow) had P.V. Sindhu to show as their icon player. World No. 15 Weng Fei Chong (Malaysia), R.M.V. Gurusaidutt and K. Srikkanth are the men singles players. It also spent $26,000, as against the base price of just $4,000, on young doubles specialist K. Maneesha.
Pune Pistons got Ashwini Ponnappa by default for her revised base price of $25,000 as she was last of the six icon players. But the franchise went all out for ladies world No. 4 Germany’s Juliane Schenk and spent $90,000 — $40,000 more than her base price.
World’s No. 7 male player Tien Minh Nyugen, former National champion Saurabh Verma and spent-force Anup Sridhar are part of the squad that also includes veteran men doubles pair of Sanave Thomas and Rupesh Kumar, besides Malaysia’s Wee Kong Tan, ranked 10 in men’s doubles rankings.
The top 10 buys: 1. Lee Chong Wei (Mumbai Masters) $135,000; 2. Saina Nehwal (Hyderabad Hotshots) $120,000; 3. Juliane Schenk (Pune Pistons) $90,000; 4. P.V. Sindhu (Lucknow Warriors) $80,000; 5. P. Kashyap (Banga Beats) $75,000; 6. Hu Yun Hong (Banga Beats) $50,000; 7. Carsten Mogensen (Banga Beats) $50,000; 8. Boon Heong Tan (Delhi Smashers) $50,000; 9. Kien Keat Koo (Delhi Smashers) $50,000; 10. Pradenya Gadre (Hyderabad Hotshots) $46,000.