HYDERABAD: The battle lines are drawn. Six teams will fight it out for the next fourteen days for the coveted Premier Badminton League title.
All eyes will be on Hyderabad Hunters who start their campaign against Chennai Smashers in the first game of the season. What makes this encounter interesting is the fact that Rio Olympics champion Carolina Marin and PV Sindhu will be in action on the first day itself.
While this match for sure will be one of the highlights of the fortnight long league, it will have lot more to offer considering the teams and the players who will be seen in action. All the six teams that are in fray look well balanced and none of the teams could be termed as a favourite.
Hunters, who finished fifth in last year’s edition, have made their intent very clear of going for the kill and have assembled a quality side which is capable of going the distance.
While Marin’s presence will be a huge boost, a lot will also depend on the how the trio of Rajiv Ouseph of England and Indian pair of Sameer Verma and B Sai Praneeth perform. They will be the ones who will represent the team in the men’s single matches and with two points dedicated to the men’s single event, it will be crucial that they perform to the best of their ability.
They are also very well covered in the doubles competition, with current World No 1 Tan Wee Kiong and former World No 1 Tan Boon Heong forming up a formidable partnership. The presence of upcoming Indian doubles specialist Satwik Sairaj will also add to the team’s depth.
“All the teams are strong. We need to play our best game. Chennai is a strong team, so we will have to play well against them,” Sameer Verma told Express on the eve of Hyedrabad’s match against Chennai Smashers. Badminton Association of India president Akhilesh Dasgupta seemed optimistic about the success of the league.
“It is going to be a wonderful edition of the PBL, considering the kind of players that will be in action and I’m very sure the fans will be in for a real treat. It will be a very highly competitive tournament and all the six teams have equal chances of winning the trophy,” he said.