PBL 2020: All you need to know about seven teams participating in fifth edition of Premier Badminton League

  • Eyeing their second title, the Hyderabad Hunters will be led by reigning world champion PV Sindhu in the upcoming fifth season of the Premier Badminton League.

  • Having twice fallen at the last hurdle, Mumbai Rockets will be doubly motivated to take the PBL title they missed on two occasions.

  • With quite a few debutants and youngsters in the line-up, Pune 7 Aces will be bringing in an element of unpredictability as they set their sights on lifting the PBL trophy for the first time.

Hyderabad Hunters

Eyeing their second title, the Hyderabad Hunters will be led by reigning world champion PV Sindhu in the upcoming fifth season of the Premier Badminton League. The squad looks compact and robust and will be eager to throw down the gauntlet to other challengers when the PBL gets under way.

Here’s a detailed look at the players in the squad for the Season 3 champions:

Men’s singles

Sourabh Verma (India) – Having played for three different teams in the past four editions, this will be the first time Sourabh Verma will appear in Hyderabad colours. The Hunters could not have made a better decision in men’s singles. With Verma having just concluded his career-best season, the Dhar-born shuttler would be raring to go. Titles came at the Slovenia International, the Vietnam Open and the Hyderabad Open in 2019, boosting his confidence level and the World No. 28 would be ready to carry that momentum into the new year.

Daren Liew (Malaysia) – With a career-high ranking of 10 in men’s singles and a World Championships bronze medal in his kitty, Malaysia’s Daren Liew certainly knows what it takes to play against high-level competition. Liew played for the Ahmedabad franchise in the last edition and would be a value addition to the Hunters’ squad this time.

 PBL 2020: All you need to know about seven teams participating in fifth edition of Premier Badminton League

Kiran George (India) – That Kiran George is one of India’s best talents from the upcoming generation has been validated by his title win at the JE Wilson International Series and his run to the semi-finals of the SaarLorLux Open, a Super 100 tournament. Debutant George will look to use the PBL platform to gain more experience as he aims for the higher echelons in his sport.

Women’s singles

PV Sindhu (India) – This would be PV Sindhu’s second season with the Hyderabad Hunters who retained her for Rs 77 lakh, making her the joint-most expensive player of the fifth edition. With the World No. 6 making history by winning India’s first-ever gold at the BWF World Championships, the demand for her services is very much understandable. Sindhu guided the Chennai franchise to the title in the second season and is definitely one of the players who has consistently shone at the league. The Rio Olympic silver medallist would be looking to use all her experience to bring title glory to the Hunters and begin the Olympic year with a bang.

Ruthvika Shivani Gadde (India) – The 2016 South Asian Games gold medallist is looking to bounce back after a tryst with injuries. With a semi-final appearance at the Belarus International this year, the 22-year-old has certainly showed she is hungry and motivated to make an impact and this would be her perfect opportunity to do it.

Men’s doubles

Vladimir Ivanov (Russia) – An absolute PBL veteran, Vladimir Ivanov has never missed a season and has mesmerized fans with his fiery smashes and beautiful netplay. The former World No. 7 Russian played a key role in taking the Mumbai Rockets to the final in the first edition and would like to repeat his heroics for the Hunters this time especially after winning the Dutch Open in 2019.

Ben Lane (England) and Sean Vendy (England) – 22-year-old Ben Lane and 23-year-old Sean Vendy have been a revelation in 2019. The two tasted success at the Kharkiv International and the Belgian International that catapulted them inside the top 30 in the world. Lane and Vendy have been playing with each other since their junior career where they went on to win the silver at the 2015 European Junior Championships and would certainly be two of the PBL debutants to watch.

Mixed doubles

Sikki Reddy (India) – One of India’s best doubles players of all time, 2018 Commonwealth Games bronze medallist Sikki Reddy was a part of the Bengaluru franchise that finished as runners-up in the third season. This time with her home crowd watching her, the Hyderabad-based former World No. 13 would strive to taste PBL glory for the first time.

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Mumbai Rockets

Having twice fallen at the last hurdle, Mumbai Rockets will be doubly motivated to take the PBL title they missed on two occasions. In their quest, they have lined up an excellent squad who can dominate rival teams and can fetch a win against some of the world’s best.

Here’s a detailed look at the Mumbai Rockets squad for PBL5:

Men’s singles

Parupalli Kashyap (India) – Having appeared for three different teams in four seasons, 2014 Commonwealth Games gold medallist Parupalli Kashyap will be donning the Mumbai Rockets jersey for the first time. Kashyap’s inclusion can help the Rockets a long way in their quest for their first title. Not only does he have oodles of experience but the just-concluded 2019 season saw a rejuvenated version of the 33-year-old, who looked fit and raring to go. The World No. 23 made it to the Canada Open final, besides a couple of semi-finals on the BWF Tour, which clearly showed that age is just a number for the veteran.

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Lee Dong Keun (Korea) – 2014 Asiad team gold winner, Lee Dong Keun of South Korea has six BWF titles to his credit and a career-best ranking of No. 16, which leave no doubt regarding his firepower and finesse on the court. Keun would thus be an intriguing contest to watch when he appears for the Mumbai franchise.

Shreyansh Jaiswal (India) – For Maldives International semi-finalist Shreyansh Jaiswal, this is a priceless opportunity to hone his skills under the tutelage of some of the world’s most revered shuttlers and take his game a notch higher.

Men’s doubles

Kim Sa Rang (Korea) - An integral part of the Bengaluru franchise on their way to the final in Season 3, Kim Sa Rang will be playing in Mumbai colours in the new season. The two-time World Championships bronze medal winner is familiar with the challenges of the league and will be looking to make a strong impact for the Rockets.

Kim Gi Jung (Korea) – Kim Gi Jung won a couple of bronze medals from the World Championships in partnership with Kim Sa Rang. And that is why, with the latter coming to the Mumbai squad as well, fans could be in for a treat when the two Koreans join forces against rival teams. The two would look to weave magic as they aim to guide the Mumbai franchise to their maiden PBL title.

Pranaav Jerry Chopra (India) – Having been a part of India’s 2018 Commonwealth Games gold-winning squad and the 2016 Asian Championships bronze-winning men’s team, there has been no question about the supreme footwork and guile that Pranaav Jerry Chopra has on the court. He has been as high as No. 13 in mixed doubles two years back and that would galvanize him to produce his best on his return to PBL.

Shlok Ramchandran (India) – With the JE Wilson International Series in his kitty and a couple of other runner-up finishes, World No. 48 Shlok Ramchandran will be arriving at the PBL with a lot of motivation to impress on his debut.

Women’s singles

Shreyanshi Pardeshi (India) – With a good movement and a clinical ability to read the game well, rising star Shreyanshi Pardeshi can take a lot out of this chance to lead her team’s women’s singles attack. Pardeshi is no stranger to the league having made her debut in Season 3 and she can easily bank on that experience when she takes the court.

Mixed doubles

Pia Zebadiah (Indonesia) – Dynamic mixed doubles shuttler Pia Zebadiah will be continuing her association with the Mumbai Rockets for a second consecutive year. Zebadiah’s control at the net and her sense of anticipation are a thing of beauty as was evident in her Season 3 heroics when she guided the Hyderabad Hunters to the title. She would surely light up the court once again when she appears for the Rockets in the upcoming edition.

Jessica Pugh (England) – 22-year-old Jessica Pugh has already established herself as one doubles player to watch out for. Her sizzling chemistry with Ben Lane has yielded a title at the Belgian International this year and the PBL debutant would surely take that momentum into the league.

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Pune 7 Aces

With quite a few debutants and youngsters in the line-up, Pune 7 Aces will be bringing in an element of unpredictability as they set their sights on lifting the PBL trophy for the first time. The doubles department has been bolstered by the addition of a few legendary figures who could make a lot of difference for the Pune franchise.

Here’s a detailed look at the Pune 7 Aces squad for PBL5:

Men’s singles

Loh Kean Yew (Singapore) – With a fearless attitude on the court and a game to complement it, Singapore’s 22-year-old Loh Kean Yew has left no doubt that he is one of the best from the next generation. His giant-killing run at the Thailand Masters that culminated in him winning the title from the qualifying rounds was a thorough testament to his self-belief and maturity at such a young age. He has all the traits needed to make a major impact at the PBL on his debut.

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Kazumasa Sakai (Japan) – Former World No. 15 Kazumasa Sakai is pretty familiar with high level of competition having made it to the finals of the 2017 Indonesia Open and the 2018 Indonesia Masters. The Japanese would thus be looking to make a rich contribution in his first appearance at the league.

Mithun Manjunath (India) – Rising star Mithun Manjunath has already made his talent known with a couple of semi-final appearances at the Vietnam Open and the Russian Open in 2018. He was also a part of the defending champions, Bengaluru Raptors’ squad last year and that experience would come in handy for the youngster.

Men’s doubles

Chirag Shetty (India) – Chirag Shetty made history in 2019 as he and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy became the first Indian doubles pair to win a Super 500 title at the Thailand Open. Their rise has been incredible, highlighted by a series of top-10 wins that makes them dangerous for any rival pair. Shetty’s speed and deft touches at the net and his huge confidence level are a big season why Pune retained him.

Hendra Setiawan (Indonesia) – Age is just a number for Indonesia’s 35-year-old Hendra Setiawan. The kind of spirit and hunger that he is showing even now is absolutely admirable. 2019 was yet another successful season for the Indonesian veteran, who played a key role in taking the Bengaluru Raptors to the title. The 2008 Olympic champion carried that momentum into the Tour to take the titles at the World Championships, the All England Open, the New Zealand Open as well as the BWF World Tour Finals. It would be a treat to watch Setiawan weave his magic at the PBL once again.

Chris Adcock (England) – After 4 seasons with the Chennai franchise, this will be the first time that Commonwealth Games gold medallist Chris Adcock would be appearing for a different team. Pune is well aware of his credentials and what he can bring to the table as they desperately look to win the title for the very first time. The two-time World Championships medallist has all the qualities to help the Aces in their PBL journey.

MR Arjun (India) – With so many legends in the squad, rising doubles shuttler MR Arjun would be making the most of this opportunity to learn from the best. Arjun has already shown a lot of promise and he would certainly look to leave a lasting impression.

Women’s singles

Thi Trang Vu (Vietnam) – A bronze medallist at the 2010 Youth Olympic Games, Vu Thi Trang should be ready to spearhead the Pune attack after finishing a season that saw her clinch the Yonex/K&D Graphics International Challenge title. She also tasted success at the JE Wilson International Series and the World No. 47 has the potential to cause a few upsets when she turns up for Pune.

Rituparna Das (India) – Having battled injuries, former Indian national champion Rituparna Das is high on confidence after a fabulous end to the 2019 season, where she made it to the final at the Italy International and the semi-finals at the Syed Modi International. Das relies on good footwork and placement to launch her attack and is most definitely a valuable addition for the Aces.

Mixed doubles

Tse Ying Suet (Hong Kong) – Pune 7 Aces certainly landed a jackpot when they managed to get the services of Hong Kong’s Tse Ying Suet. Armed with titles from the Korea Masters and the Taipei Open, the Asian Games and World Championships medallist is currently in a rich vein of form as evidenced by her World No. 10 ranking. Suet could go a long way in turning the tables in favour of Pune when the going gets tough.

Kuhoo Garg (India) – A part of the Mumbai Rockets squad last year, Kuhoo Garg will don Pune colours this time. Riding high on her success at the Egypt International, where she won the mixed doubles title, Garg will be keen to make a mark at the upcoming edition of the PBL.

Chennai Superstarz

Having won the title in the second season, the Chennai franchise will be playing the fifth edition of the PBL under a new name. With a sprightly mix of youth and experience, Chennai will hope to replicate their Season 2 heroics.

Here’s a detailed look at the Chennai Superstarz PBL5 squad:

Men’s singles

Tommy Sugiarto (Indonesia) – Former World Championships bronze medallist Tommy Sugiarto has fond memories of leading the Delhi franchise to the title in the first season of the PBL. The veteran Indonesian, who was previously ranked as high as No. 3, certainly knows what it takes to taste PBL glory and would bring all his experience into play to repeat his heroics for Chennai.

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Lakshya Sen (India) – 18-year-old Lakshya Sen made an incredible transition to the senior circuit in 2019, collecting a staggering five titles. It enabled the former junior Asian champion to rewrite record books as the youngest Indian men’s singles player to break into the top 40 and that totally justifies the Chennai franchise shelling out Rs 36 lakhs for the Almora-born rising star.

S Sankar Muthusamy (India) – With a stellar career in juniors and a run to the quarter-finals of the Bahrain International Series this year, 15-year-old S. Sankar Muthusamy has already established himself as a star to watch out for. PBL will help him sharpen his game further as he aims for the higher echelons of the sport.

K Sathish Kumar (India) – K. Sathish Kumar is another of the talented juniors in the Chennai squad. The Korea Junior Open semi-finalist will hope to make the most of this grand opportunity.

Men’s doubles

Sumeeth Reddy (India) and Manu Attri (India) – Having a seasoned pair like Manu Attri and Sumeeth Reddy in the team will add depth to the Chennai squad. The two, who are currently ranked 30th, soared to the title at the India International and the Nepal International. Their great chemistry and understanding of each other’s games will work wonders for the team.

Satwiksairaj Rankireddy (India) – With his array of fiery smashes, Satwiksairaj Rankireddy would be looking to impress the fans of the Chennai franchise in his first appearance for the yellow brigade, just like he did for Hyderabad Hunters when he delivered them the title in Season 3. Rankireddy will be coming after a historic season that saw him and Chirag Shetty become the first Indian pair to win a Super 500 title at the Thailand Open, besides toppling several top-10 pairs. With such a record already at the age of 19, he is well on his way to becoming one of the best doubles players India has ever produced.

Women’s singles

Kirsty Gilmour (Scotland) – Gilmour, who has been as high as No. 14 in 2016, mesmerized PBL fans with her fearless display on her debut for the Bengaluru franchise in Season 3. This is her third season in the league and the Scot would be looking to bring all the confidence that took her to a silver medal at the European Games and a host of other finals on the BWF Tour this year.

Gayatri Gopichand (India) – Gayatri Gopichand has been touted for a long time as one of the most promising talents from Indian badminton powerhouse. A chance to play at the PBL is another stepping stone in the career of the youngster who made it to the final at the Nepal International Series this year.

Mixed doubles

Gabrielle Adcock (England) – A long-standing member of the Chennai franchise, 2017 World Championship bronze winner Gabrielle Adcock will play for them for the 4th consecutive season. Adcock’s brilliance was a big reason why the Chennai franchise cruised to title glory in the second season and the 2018 Commonwealth Games gold medallist would be aiming for nothing less than a repeat this time.

Sanjana Santosh (India) – Sanjana Santosh got a taste of PBL victory when she was with the Bengaluru Raptors last season. This year the seasoned doubles pro will be coming to the league armed with the Lagos International title and will hope to contribute massively to Chennai’s cause.

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Awadhe Warriors

With former World No. 1 Ko Sung Hyun and former world champion Shin Baek Cheol in the squad, Awadhe Warriors would be looking to end their search for their first PBL title in the fifth edition. Retention of World No.16 women’s singles player, Beiwen Zhang has also added depth to their team as they aim for the top podium.

Here’s a detailed look at the Awadhe Warriors squad for PBL5:

Men’s Singles

Subhankar Dey (India) – Subhankar Dey’s run to the title at the SaarLorLux Open in 2018, where he beat Lin Dan on the way, was a testament to the belief and determination that Dey has always had. A hard worker and a quick learner to the core, the World No. 45 would like to make the most of his PBL debut to not only show his talent but also to pick up skills from some of the world’s best shuttlers.

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Ajay Jayaram (India) – PBL glory is nothing new to Ajay Jayaram. He made a major contribution to the Delhi franchise’s win in the first season and even guided the Mumbai Rockets to the final in the second edition. Injuries hampered the former Dutch Open winner’s scope of doing well of late but there is no denying that his presence is bound to add value to any team.

Wong Wing Ki Vincent (Hong Kong) – Former World No. 10 Wong Wing Ki Vincent returns to the Awadhe Warriors to provide solidity to the men’s singles line-up. Vincent had played a key role in taking the Lucknow-based franchise to the semi-finals in 2017 and the Warriors would be expecting nothing less from him this time too. The highly popular star, who very much enjoys playing at the league, would be looking to bring the same form and sharpness that took him to the Indonesia Open semi-finals this year.

Men’s doubles

Shin Baek Cheol (Korea) and Ko Sung Hyun (Korea) – The Awadhe Warriors have opted for the seasoned pair of Shin Baek Cheol and Ko Sung Hyun and that could make a lot of difference. The former World No. 1 Ko Sung Hyun’s partnership with former world champion Shin Baek Cheol yielded three titles this year, catapulting them to No. 22 in the world rankings. Having known each other’s strengths and weaknesses inside out, the two Koreans would pose a threat for other teams.

Ivan Sozonov (Russia) – Former World No. 7 Ivan Sozonov is yet another quality doubles player for the Awadhe team, which looks one of the strongest on paper in men’s doubles. Sozonov has previously appeared twice for the Delhi franchise and the Dutch Open titlist’s sharp netplay can do wonders for the Warriors.

Women’s singles

Beiwen Zhang (USA) – Having defeated PV Sindhu in a thrilling final to capture the India Open 2018 title, World No. 16 Beiwen Zhang is certainly all too familiar with playing in front of the Indian crowd. It would benefit her immensely as she comes back for the Awadhe Warriors for a second consecutive season. With her fabulous strokeplay, the 2019 Hong Kong Open and Swiss Open semi-finalist would be upbeat to help the Warriors fulfil their desire of winning the PBL trophy for the first time.

Tanvi Lad (India) – 2013 Bahrain International Challenge and 2017 Welsh International winner Tanvi Lad would be keen to use this opportunity to sharpen her skills as she aims higher in her career.

Mixed doubles

Christinna Pedersen (Denmark) – One of the world’s most accomplished doubles shuttlers, Christinna Pedersen makes a comeback to the sport that has given her two Olympic medals, five World Championships medals, six European Championships golds, besides a host of other elite titles. The Awadhe Warriors’ loyalty to Pedersen has been incredible and the Dane has never played for a team other than the Warriors. This year is no exception and Pedersen would be striving to pay back the faith in her with yet another sterling display.

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Bengaluru Raptors

With fond memories of lifting the trophy in the fourth season, the Bengaluru Raptors will try, in every way, to keep their winning streak going. In their pursuit of further glory, the defending champions have assembled a team that looks strong, compact and has variety.

Here is a detailed look at the players in the squad for PBL5:

Men’s singles

Sai Praneeth (India) - Having retained Sai Praneeth, the Raptors have very little reason to worry in the men's singles department. Sai will be coming after his career-best season that saw him winning not just a World Championships medal but also breaking into the top 10 of the world rankings for the very first time.

Sai's bronze from Basel was a momentous feat for Indian badminton as it ended a 36-year wait for a men's singles medal. With a highly-improved fitness level, the World No. 11, who also reached the Swiss Open final, has shown oodles of self-belief every time he has stepped on the court and would continue that at the PBL too.

Brice Leverdez (France) – Having appeared for the Chennai and the Pune franchises in three of the past four seasons, France’s Brice Leverdez certainly knows a thing or two about the high level of competition and the atmosphere at the PBL. The 33-year-old is thus an apt choice as the second men’s singles player for the Raptors.

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With a career that has a gold medal from the Mediterranean Games, a silver from the European Games and a bronze from the European Championships, the 34th ranked Frenchman has no dearth of experience and would use it to provide able support to Sai in men’s singles.

Ansal Yadav (India) – 22-year-old promising talent, Ansal Yadav will be making his PBL debut this time and will look to use this platform to gain some valuable experience and rise higher.

Men’s doubles

Chan Peng Soon (Malaysia) – The Raptors’ doubles attack will be bolstered by the presence of World No. 6 mixed doubles star, Chan Peng Soon, who will be appearing in the PBL for the very first time. The Malaysian remains one of the most revered figures in doubles with a host of important medals to show for.

Multiple Commonwealth Games gold medals, an Asian Championships gold, an Olympic silver, and an Asian Games bronze among others give a picture of Soon’s storied career. Even this year, the 31-year-old achieved success at the Thailand Masters and the New Zealand Open and would look to carry that momentum into the league.

Tak Ching Chang (Hong Kong) – Young doubles star Tak Ching Chang will be debuting at the PBL in Bengaluru colours. Chang made quite an impression at the Tata Open India International Challenge in 2018 in mixed doubles, where he made it to the final. Now with a top-30 mixed doubles ranking and loads more exposure on the tour, Chang will surely be ready for the PBL.

Arun George (India) – 2018 Dutch International winner Arun George has switched to the Raptors from the Hyderabad Hunters. With a runner-up show at the Maldives International Challenge this year, the World No. 64 would certainly be pumped up to display his skills at the PBL.

Women’s singles

Tai Tzu Ying (Chinese Taipei) - The Raptors' attempt to successfully defend their title has received a shot in the arm with the inclusion of World No. 2 Tai Tzu Ying. Having last played in the third edition, the Chinese Taipei ace returns to PBL as the joint-costliest player of the fifth edition, worth Rs 77 lakh.

With the kind of impeccable resume the former World No. 1 has, it is no wonder that she is one of the most sought-after players. Tai's repertoire of trick shots and her finesse make her an absolute wizard on the court and she will use that to mesmerize her Indian fans as well. Armed with titles from the Malaysia Open, the Singapore Open and the Denmark Open, Tai will look to forget her World Tour Finals final loss and begin the new season on a thunderous note.

Medha Shashidharan (India) – With Tai being in the team, India’s 17-year-old rising star, Medha Shashidharan would certainly be making the most of her golden opportunity to learn from one of the world’s best shuttlers.

Mixed doubles

Eom Hye Won (Korea) – 28-year-old Korean veteran Eom Hye Won will be donning the Bengaluru jersey for the first time, having turned up for the Hyderabad Hunters in the last edition. Won has been one of Korea’s best doubles exponents and her multiple medals from elite tournaments validate it. A silver and a bronze from the World Championships, a bronze from the Asian Championships, besides a couple of gold medals from the Summer Universiade show why the Raptors shelled out Rs 25 lakh to get her services, making her the fifth-most expensive woman shuttler of the upcoming edition.

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North Eastern Warriors

With a good balance of youth and experience, the North Eastern Warriors will look to launch their quest for their maiden title on a strong note at the upcoming fifth season of the Premier Badminton League.

Here is a detailed look at the players in the squad for PBL5:

Men’s singles

Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk (Thailand) - Experienced Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk makes a return to the North Eastern Warriors as he looks to guide them to their first title in Season 5. The former World No. 9 has an illustrious resume highlighted by 7 South East Asian Games medals and a bronze at the 2010 Asian Games. The 2019 US Open and Indonesia Masters runner-up’s vast experience will be valuable for the talented youngsters in the team as the north-eastern franchise sets its sights on the top podium.

Lee Cheuk Yiu (Hong Kong) – With a superb junior career that saw him win a bronze at the Asia Junior Championships and a silver at the Asian Youth Games, Lee Cheuk Yiu has finally come into his own. The 23-year-old made a stunning run to the title at home at the Hong Kong Open, having accounted for the likes of Kidambi Srikanth, Viktor Axelsen, Shi Yuqi and Anthony Sinisuka Ginting on the way. With the confidence that he gained from that victory, the Hong Kong shuttler, who is also the team’s costliest foreign player at Rs 50 lakh , is all set to mesmerize badminton fans when he takes the court for the PBL for the very first time.

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Kaushal Dharmamer (India) – Having won the Myanmar International Series and Maldives International Challenge this year, Kaushal Dharmamer will be looking to use that experience when he makes his PBL debut for the North Eastern Warriors.

Men’s doubles

Lee Yong Dae (Korea) - After donning the Mumbai Rockets jersey for three consecutive seasons, Korea’s doubles superstar Lee Yong Dae will appear for the North Eastern Warriors for the very first time. Being one of the most accomplished doubles players ever to hold a racquet, Lee’s resume is dotted with an Olympic gold and a bronze, six World Championships medals, an Asian Games gold and five more Asiad medals as well as five Asian Championships gold medals.

Having had a taste of the level of excitement and competition at the PBL for three straight years, Lee is just the man the North Eastern Warriors needed to take them to the top.

Krishna Prasad Garaga (India) - As the runner-up at the Yonex Dutch Junior Open 2018 and the winner of the Kharkiv International the same year, Krishna Prasad Garaga had shown what a bright future awaits him in his badminton career. With his vibrant energy and speed, the 19-year-old will be of an advantage in the doubles department for the franchise.

Bodin Isara (Thailand) – Having participated in three of the past four seasons, Thailand’s Bodin Isara is a PBL veteran after his previous stints with the Awadhe Warriors and the Hyderabad Hunters. The former World No. 7 will play a key role in doubles thanks to his brilliant athleticism and anticipation skills. Isara just won a silver at the South Asian Games and will be eager to carry that momentum into the PBL as well.

Women’s singles

Ashmita Chaliha (India) - Chaliha could not have asked for a better team to make her PBL debut with. The 20-year-old Guwahati girl is the most expensive Indian player at Rs 3 lakh and will look to do full justice to the price after securing the highly-coveted gold medal at the South Asian Games. Chaliha has long been touted as the best of the next generation of Indian badminton and she vindicated that with title wins at the Tata Open and the Dubai International Challenge last year. Now she will look to produce fireworks in the league.

Michelle Li (Canada) - The North Eastern Warriors will be emboldened by the return of 2014 Commonwealth Games gold medallist Michelle Li to the squad in Season 5. The Canadian was a part of the inaugural season for the Warriors but missed out on the next year. Perched at a career-high ranking of No. 8, Li will be an asset for the Guwahati-based team after a pretty impressive season that saw her soar to the title at the Macau Open.

Mixed doubles

Kim Ha Na (Korea) - Former World No. 1 and 2019 Hungarian International winner Kim Ha Na has previously appeared for the North Eastern Warriors but this time she comes as the fourth-most expensive woman player of the fifth season after the franchise shelled out Rs 27 lakh  for her. The Korean, a 2014 Asiad silver medallist, has notched up three wins for the team in the past and her inclusion will once again be a bonus for them.

Rutaparna Panda (India) - Cuttack girl, Rutaparna Panda will be making a transition from the Chennai Smashers to the North Eastern Warriors this time. As the Lagos International champion and the runner-up at the Nepal International, Panda, one of the fastest-rising players, will look to make an impact.

(Contest courtesy: PBL)

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Updated Date: Jan 20, 2020 18:19:44 IST