HYDERABAD: The Premier Badminton League (PBL) auctions came in like a breeze for singles players and blew them away. HS Prannoy emerged the costliest buy after Ahmedabad Smash Masters sealed the bid at Rs 62 lakh. Foreign doubles players too raked in attractive deals running into millions of rupees.
At the other end of the spectrum lie the doubles players. B Sumeeth Reddy, men’s doubles specialist, has been critical of the process. After being promised Rs 3 lakh by Chennai Smashers, the Rio Olympian took to social media to vent out his frustration. Express got in touch with the shuttler — who is currently in The Netherlands to participate at the Yonex Dutch Open — to learn more about the issue.
After being ignored in the first round of the auctions, Reddy was picked up in the second round. The player is mulling pulling out of the league and play at the SS Purple League, which is held in Malaysia around the same time as the PBL.
“I’m in talks with Gopi (chand) sir regarding the auction amount. If the authorities concerned do not change the amount, I will have no option but to quit and take part in the Purple League,” Reddy told Express over phone.
“It’s not just about the price. I think I would not get a chance to play even a single game this time in the PBL. Twenty-four days without a game would be of no use to me.” The Smashers have splurged Rs 54 lakh and Rs 25 lakh on Chris Adcock and Lee Yang, respectively, in the men’s doubles category.
“Last season, it was made compulsory by the former BAI chief to take part in the PBL. I think there is no such rule this time. So I might go and play elsewhere,” Reddy noted. Soon after the auctions on Monday, Reddy used social media to say, “As usual, unhappy with the auction. Only better support can get better results for Indian doubles....”
He also stressed the need to have at least one Indian in doubles and mixed doubles in PBL. When asked about this, he said, “Doubles, mixed doubles should feature at least one Indian. That’s how they will evolve.”
Asked about the reason behind him contemplating quitting the tournament, the World No 33 said, “A player gets around $2000-2500 per game in Purple League. The tournament goes on for about two months, but by the end of it you can make around $15,000-20,000. The Rs 3 lakh from PBL pales in comparison.”