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No Takers for Indian Doubles Players: The PBL Story

While the players who were retained by the franchises, got a substantial hike, it was some Indian doubles players like Sumeeth who did not get the desired price at the auctions

Madhav Agarwal | News18 Sports

Updated:October 17, 2017, 11:48 AM IST
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No Takers for Indian Doubles Players: The PBL Story
A file photo of Manu Attri and Sumeeth Reddy. (Getty Images)
New Delhi: Premier Badminton League for Indian shutters is, what Indian Premier League for cricketers, or a Pro Kabaddi League is for our Indian kabaddi players. Yet there is a striking difference between the badminton league, and the rest. While the others are high on promoting young Indian talent, and creating a pool of players in the future, the PBL might perhaps be lacking on that aspect.

What all the PBL teams are focusing on is getting seasoned players from India and abroad, which becomes their instant success mantra. Also, here the singles players from the country sell like hot cakes, but the situation is completely opposite with the doubles players.

The same was at display during the recent auctions of the PBL held at Hyderabad. As the singles players were raking in moolah, their doubles counterparts just found it difficult to get under the hammer and get picked. At the end of the day some Indian doubles shuttlers did manage to get into teams, but it was of course at a paltry sum, and way below than what was offered to foreign players.

Sumeeth Reddy, India no 2 in men's doubles, went for a below-par Rs 3 lakh with Chennai Smashers. Unimpressed, Sumeeth took to social media soon after the auctions and expressed his displeasure. What has been more disappointing for Sumeeth is that he has been a part of this franchise since the start of the PBL, but is yet to get his due, in terms of the number of matches he plays for his side. Now with Chris Adcock and Lee Yang already in the team, the chances of that happening look bleak.




"Let me just start by saying, that I am not the kind of person who would come to social media to criticize anything. But enough is enough. First season I did not get a chance to play. Then in second season I got only one match. This is not the way to treat a senior player.

"As far as the money is concerned, Indian singles players have got the best deals, while it's the opposite with the doubles players. It's not just me who has been handed a raw deal, but others as well," a disappointed Sumeeth told News 18.

For the record, men's singles shuttler HS Prannoy was bagged for a whopping Rs 62 lakh by Ahmedabad Smash Masters. Not just the monetary aspect, it is the possibility of not getting to play, is what concerns Sumeeth. In fact he is considering a pull-out from the league, to probably play in the Purple League in Malaysia.

"I am thinking about playing the Purple League in Malaysia that starts at the same time around the PBL. Also if I don't get a game, it will just be a waste of time for me for close to a month," he added.

What baffles Sumeeth is that none of the teams have a regular doubles pair, be it in any category. According to him, that was a rule till the last season too.




"I think, for us to grow, it's imperative that we have at least one regular Indian pair in every team. I suppose that was the rule till last year."

Sumeeth has found support from his coaches until now, and he hopes that such a situation does not arise in the future, as this really dampens the spirit of the players, which
does not hold them in good stead.




Vimal Kumar, the former India head coach, who has seen this Indian team from close quarters, feels that in such a format some players might not get the desired amount, but they should keep doing their job. Also, it is hard to plan things at an auction, and no outcome can be predicted.

"I think Sumeeth is justified in his approach. But having said that, I feel that his franchise must have taken the decision on some parameters only. Sumeeth and Manu Attri are still among India's best, and should not get disheartened by this," Vimal said.

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| Edited by: Madhav Agarwal
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