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PBL has grown in stature and many big names are in this year: Kidambi Srikanth

In its fourth edition, Premier Badminton League (PBL) has attracted both the men’s and women’s world No. 1 -- Viktor Axelsen and Tai Tzu Ying -- as well as top Indian players including Saina Nehwal, PV Sindhu and Kidambi Srikanth

other sports Updated: Dec 10, 2017 23:45 IST
Rajesh Pansare
Rajesh Pansare
Hindustan Times, Dubai
Premier Badminton League,PBL,PBL 2017-18
PV Sindhu, Kidambi Srikanth and Women’s world No 1 Tai Tzu Ying during a Premier Badminton League (PBL) promotional event in Dubai on Sunday.(HT Photo)

It’s end of the season. The bodies are aching, crying for rest but players are still inclined to give it one more shot before drawing curtains.

The Premier Badminton League, after initial hiccups, is slowly but surely carving a niche among the top players around the world.

Its growing popularity can be gauged from the fact that four of the top-10 men’s players and five of the top-10 women’s players are taking part in the fourth edition to be held from December 23 to January 14 across five cities in the country. The organisers have also added two new teams -- Ahmedabad Smash Masters and North Eastern Warriors -- to take the number of teams to eight in this fourth season.

Strong field

India’s top stars Kidambi Srikanth and PV Sindhu were taking time out from preparing for the BWF World Superseries Finals, kicking off here on Wednesday, to shoot the promotional videos for the league. They were joined by men’s and women’s world No 1s Viktor Axelsen and Tai Tzu Ying respectively.

Srikanth and Sindhu felt the league was a perfect platform for them to learn from other top stars and groom the next generation.

“The league’s level has grown. Many top players are taking part this year. It is good to see so many top players showing interest in the league; it will help the sport in the country. Spending time with them will help you grow as well. It will help you learn how they prepare for the match and other things,” said Srikanth as he waited waited patiently to get done with the promotional campaigns.

The Awadhe Warriors player added: “More than anything it will help young people watch their heroes. It will definitely be a big inspiration for many youngsters to take up the game.”

Sindhu seconded Srikanth’s views. “You have Olympic medallists, World Championship medallists. I’m really looking forward to it. The addition of two teams creates more excitement as well and also that of Tai Tzu Ying.”

But won’t that get hectic? The Superseries Finals will be held between December 12-17 and players will have just six days before the league kicks off. “It’s (league) over three weeks. So, it shouldn’t be an issue. It’s India, it’s our league. I know it’s a bit hectic, but we have to play,” said Sindhu, the world No 3.

First Published: Dec 10, 2017 23:30 IST