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Sindhu, Tai Tzu Ying star attractions as Premier Badminton League

P.V. Sindhu. File

P.V. Sindhu. File   | Photo Credit: Andy Wong

The league returns to Chennai after two years

At the launch of the season-5 of the Premier Badminton League here, endorsements came thick and fast from many players including World champions Carolina Marin and P. V. Sindhu. All players, including Sai Praneeth, Satwiksairaj Rankireddy, Christinna Pedersen and Lakshya Sen gave a thumbs-up to PBL at the media conference.

When the PBL begins here on January 20 (Monday) — it returns to the city after two years — it promises to feature exciting matches. Two stars — Sindhu and World No.2 Tai Tzu Ying — will be in action on the first two days.

On the first day Chennai Superstarz will take on Hyderabad Hunters, which will most likely witness Sindhu in action.

And on the next day, Bengalur Raptors of which World No. 2 Tai Tzu Ying is a part, will take on North East Warriors.

For the 16-year-old upcoming player S. Sankar Muthusamy, it will be a learning curve watching top Indian and foreign players practice and play. “I am waiting to interact with International players,” he said.

Doubles specialist Satwiksairaj Rankireddy went up a step further. “Every year we wait for PBL. My game really developed there,” the 19-year-old said.

“To play [in PBL] in front of Indian fans has been great,” remarked Marin, in a video message.

She, however, will not be part of PBL this time.

Stars missing out

This being the Olympic year, a few top players have opted out, deciding instead to recuperate and prepare for the quadrennial event.

This time, K. Srikanth, Saina Nehwal, H.S. Prannoy and Sameer Verma are some of the prominent names who will be missing.

The 2020 edition will have 24 ties played in 21 days across three different cities starting on January 20 in Chennai (till Jan. 24), followed by Lucknow (Jan. 25 to 28) and Hyderabad (Jan. 29 to Feb. 6).

The semifinals (Feb. 7 & 8) and final (Feb. 9) will be held in Hyderabad.

Finding venues has been a problematic area for the organisers even though they would not like say it openly. Stadiums in many venues, reportedly charge “exorbitantly” from the organisers.

In fact, it has been reliably learnt that strings had to be pulled to get Chennai back as one of the venues for the current season.

Previous Champions: 2016: Delhi Dashers; 2017: Chennai Smashers; 2017-18: Hyderabad Hunters; 2018-19: Bengaluru Raptors.

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Printable version | Mar 31, 2020 4:44:28 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/other-sports/sindhu-tai-tzu-ying-star-attractions-as-premier-badminton-league/article30601514.ece

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