Prannoy, Shin, and Tian surprise stars in PBL auction

The auction for India’s Premier Badminton League (PBL) was completed on Monday with some very interesting names at the top of the bidding, with H. S. Prannoy the top pick […]

The for India’s Premier Badminton () was completed on Monday with some very interesting names at the top of the bidding, with H. S. Prannoy the top pick and Shin Baek Cheol the priciest doubles player.

Photos: Badmintonphoto and Don Hearn

Only one of the top four players by auction price is a member of the current world’s top ten.  The ten most expensive players excluded both the world #1 and #2 men’s singles players and included three Koreans who have retired from international competition.  These are just some of the unexpected realities left visible when the dust cleared after the player auction for the third edition of the Premier Badminton League.

Some of the oddities can be explained by the unique format of PBL team ties.  With two men’s singles matches per tie, and no women’s doubles, it is certain that we would never see a price scheme that follows world rankings.

Topping the ticket was U.S. Open champion H. S. Prannoy (pictured right).  Prannoy may be only ranked 15th in the world right now but the fact that he was undefeated in the 2nd edition of the PBL last winter may have suggested to the bidders that he adapted better than some to the 11-point scoring system.

2nd in the bidding was the only player hailing from mainland China.  Superseries Finals runner-up Tian Houwei (pictured top) garnered 8 lakh (800,000) rupees more than current world #1 Viktor Axelsen, for example, who beat Tian in Dubai a couple of weeks before his PBL debut.

The top doubles pick this year was a former partner of last year’s most expensive doubles player Yoo Yeon Seong.  PBL rookie Shin Baek Cheol (pictured left) went for 55 lakh, behind only three men’s singles players: Prannoy, Tian, and Srikanth Kidambi, the priciest top 10 player in the auction.  Shin is an interesting choice given that he hasn’t played an international ranking tournament since the 2016 Indonesia Open.  However, of all the doubles players in the auction, he was the one most recently ranked in the top ten in both men’s and mixed doubles and he is the only present PBL player to have medalled in both disciplines at the World Championships.  This versatility is clearly a sought-after quality and may explain why the Korean doubles players – all of whom have seen success in mixed – are crowded near the top, along with England’s Chris Adcock.

The top woman in the bidding was, predictably, women’s singles world #1 Tai Tzu Ying.  The most expensive female doubles player was obviously very logical as Gabrielle Adcock is the highest-ranked mixed player in a league with no women’s doubles responsibilities.

See below the complete team rosters.  Player prices are reported in lakh of Indian rupees (100,000 rupees) and data comes from the PBL Facebook page except where noted.

Delhi Acers
Sung Ji Hyun (50)
Tian Houwei (58)
Ivan Sozonov (18)
Pranaav Jerry Chopra (18)
RMV Gurusaidutt (12)†
Vladimir Ivanov (33.75)†
Aarthi Sara Sunil (3)
Ashwini Ponnappa (20)
Shreyanshi Pardeshi (1)*
Wong Wing Ki (25)
Bengaluru Blasters
Viktor Axelsen (50)
Kim Sa Rang (49)*
Manu Atri (17)
Harsheel Dani (4)*
K. Maneesha (5)*
Mathias Boe (41)*
Sikki Reddy (6.25)‡
Kirsty Gilmour (33) †
Rituparna Das (14)†
Chong Wei Feng (10)†
Chennai Smashers
P. V. Sindhu (48.75)‡
Chris Adcock (54)
Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk (25)
Aditya Joshi (3)†
Tanvi Lad (1)†
Gabrielle Adcock (48)
Brice Leverdez (18)
Daniel Farid (1)†
B. Sumeeth Reddy (3)†
Lee Yang (25)†
Northeastern Warriors
Wang Tzu Wei (52)
Chirag Shetty (5)
Shin Baek Cheol (55)
Kim Gi Jung (30)†
Pratul Joshi (3)†
Ajay Jayaram (44)
Prakakta Sawant (7)*
Ruthvika Shivani (9)
Sanyogita Ghorpade (1)†
Michelle Li (15)†
Ahmedabad Smash Masters
Tai Tzu Ying (52)
Lee Chun Hei (32)
Law Cheuk Him (18)
H.S. Prannoy (62)
Stefani Stoeva (10)†
Kamilla Rytter Juhl (35)
Kidambi Nandagopal (1)*
Sourabh Verma (13)
Siril Verma (3)†
Sri Krishna Priya (3)†
Awadhe Warriors
Saina Nehwal (41.2)‡
Tang Chun Man (10)*
Or Ching Chung (8)*
Parupalli Kashyap (20)
Harshit Aggarwal (1)†
Kidambi Srikanth (56.1)
Christinna Pedersen (42)
Mahima Aggarwal (2)†
Sai Uttejitha Rao (1) †
Hendra Setiawan (45)
Mumbai Rockets
Lee Yong Dae (46.9) †
Sameer Verma (52)
Gabriela Stoeva (20)
M. R. Arjun (3)†
Kuhoo Garg (1)†
Son Wan Ho (50)
Zhang Beiwen (33)
Tarun Kona (3)†
Tan Boon Heong (25)†
Sanyam Shukla (1)†
Hyderabad Hunters
Carolina Marin (50)
Pia Zebadiah (14)*
B. Sai Praneeth (40)
Rasika Raje (1)†
Anoushka Parikh (1)†
Lee Hyun Il (53)†
Yoo Yeon Seong (53)
Rahul Yadav (1)†
Lu Ching Yao (22.5)†
Satwiksairaj Rankireddy (3.75)†

* Source: Inside Sport
† Source: Deccan Herald
‡ Source: International Business Times

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Don Hearn

About Don Hearn

Don Hearn is an Editor and Correspondent who hails from a badminton-loving town in rural Canada. He joined the Badzine team in 2006 to provide coverage of the Korean badminton scene and is committed to helping Badzine to promote badminton to the place it deserves as a global sport. Contact him at: don @