Ace shuttlers  PV Sindhu and Saina Nehwal each commanded a price of Rs 80 lakh at the Premier Badminton League auction on Monday. While defending champions Hyderabad Hunters snapped up Sindhu, Nehwal went to North Eastern Warriors.

Olympic silver medallist PV Sindhu, 2012 London Olympic bronze medallist Saina Nehwal, world champion Carolina Marin and former world no 1 Victor Axelsen are going to be the key attraction at this year’s PBL. The players’ auction, with some of the biggest shuttlers in the world, was held in the fourth edition of the Vodafone Premier Badminton League in New Delhi.

On joining the league and getting into the North Eastern Warriors, Saina took to Twitter and posted a video captioning, “Looking forward to play @pblindialive 2018 for the @NEShuttlers team.”

“PBL Season 4 is coming up. I ma really happy to know that I am with the North Eastern Warriors. So, really looking forward to play,” said Saina in a video.

On the other hand, Kidambi Srikanth, who was World No. 1 earlier this year, was bought by Bengaluru Raptors. He wrote: “Thank you !! Looking forward to the season kicking off .. can’t wait !!,” mentioning that he was looking forward to the fourth season of the tournament.

Saina won a historic gold medal at the Commonwealth Games held in Gold Coast earlier this year. Therefore, she was the hot favourite in the auction, but it came as a surprise when she went unsold in the first round. Among other buys, Korea’s Son Wan Ho will play for Awadhe Warriors, after the franchise bought him for Rs 70 lakh.

Also read: At 8, Sindhu had promised to be the best sportsperson she could possibly be

Former World Champion Carolina Marin is bought by the debut team Pune 7 Aces for a price of Rs 70 lakh.

Another star player Ashwini Ponnappa was bagged by Awadhe Warriors for Rs 32 lakh.

A total 145 players from 23 countries were facing the hammer for the fourth edition of the tournament, to play in the 23-day event. The number of teams went up to nine this year with the addition of Pune Franchise. All the players returned to the auction pool for the first time since 2015 with no Right To Match (RTM) cards for any teams. According to the rules of the auction, the teams could only spend a maximum sum of Rs 80 lakh on one player.

The PBL is slated to be held from December 22 to January 13.

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