Star shuttler Saina Nehwal is over the moon after being picked up by Hyderabad Hotshots in the inaugural players' auction of the Indian Badminton League here on Monday, and said she will give her best to help her team win the upcoming franchise-based event. (Full list)
"I am very happy to be with my home team. I always wanted to be with either Hyderabad or Lucknow but eventually I was bought by Hyderabad and it is a great news. I hope I can help my team to do well in the IBL," Saina told PTI. (Lee Chong Wei, Saina Nehwal star attractions)
"It is a good exposure. It is a good beginning. I will give my 100 per cent," added the London Olympics bronze medallist. (Auction - as it happened)
Saina, an icon player, was bought by Hyderabad Hotshots for a whopping USD 120,000 (approximately Rs 71,27,796) after beating the bids of Lucknow Warriors and Pune Pistons in the much-awaited auction where over 150 players went under the hammer for 66 slots to be filled by six teams.
Each team will have six Indians, four foreigners and one Indian junior player each.
While Saina was bought by her home team, ace male shuttler P Kashyap, who was picked up by Banga Beats for USD 75,000 (Rs 4,455,622 approx) did not turn out to be that lucky.
The Commonwealth Games bronze-medallist, however, assured of giving his best for the Bangalore franchise in the inaugural IBL to be held across cities from August 14 to 31.
"I am happy to be picked up in the auction. It will be a good experience, especially after the world championship.
"But I would have been more comfortable if I was picked up by the Hyderabad team because it is my home. The matches will be played in Gachibowli (in Hyderabad) and I live in Gachibowli," Kashyap said.
Another Indian rising star P V Sindhu was the big buy netted by Lucknow Warriors for USD 80,000 (Rs 4,752,664 approx), but world number one Lee Chong Wei bagged the costliest deal when he was bought by Mumbai Masters for USD 135,000 (Rs 8,019,032 approx).
Sindhu's father P V Ramana, a former volleyball player, said said IBL would be a great chance for his daughter to play against some world class players.
"It is a great opportunity for Sindhu. She can play against senior players. She can also play against Saina (Nehwal). They have not met so far (on court). Sindhu can learn good tips from her.
"Junior players generally have some fear to play against senior players. If they can continuously play against senior players in a tournament like this, their confidence would go up," Ramana said.
Doubles specialist Jwala Gutta said that she was disappointed with the reduction in her base price.
"I am very disappointed. Me and Ashwini signed the contract as icon players and we should have been given a better deal. We were not even informed about the reduction of base price. In fact, the fact that the women's doubles has been replaced by singles. I came to know late. What can I say, I am disappointed," she said.
Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa went to Delhi Smashers at USD 31,000 and USD 25,000 after their base price was reduced from USD 50,000 to USD 25,000 following a meeting of all the franchises at the last moment.