Shuttlers Saina Nehwal and P Kashyap along with international star such as world number one Lee Chong Wei will be up for grabs when the much-awaited players` auction of the USD one million Indian Badminton League is held on Monday.
Six franchises from Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Pune and Lucknow, will be bidding from a pool of more than 150 players, who will go under the hammer tomorrow during the auction, which has been postponed twice.
Five Indian players -- Nehwal, Jwala Gutta, Ashwini Ponnappa, PV Sindhu and Kashyap -- have been earmarked as icon players, while world number one Chong Wei is the sixth icon player -- all attracting highest base price of USD 50,000.
The franchises owners -- PVP Group (Hyderabad), BOP Group (Bangalore), Krrish Group (Delhi), Sahara (Lucknow), Burman family (Pune) and consortium of cricket legend Sunil Gavaskar, Telugu film star Akkineni Nagarjuna and former cricketer V Chamundeshwarnath (Mumbai) -- will have a cap of approximately USD 275,000 to fill the slot of 66 players.
"I want Chong Wei or Saina in my team. But I guess every franchise will want that. They are the top two players. We hope to can bag one. We also have other options ready. It is quite dicey," Delhi Smashers` coach Rashid Sidek, who is a regular coach of Chong Wei, said.
Even though the Koreans and the top Chinese players decided to give the IBL a miss, the tournament attracted eight of the top 10 men`s singles players and six of the top 10 women`s singles player.
Only two Chinese shuttlers -- 2006 World Championships silver medallist Bao Chunlai in singles and Zheng Bo in doubles -- will be available at the auction.
Thailand`s Boonsak Ponsana (ranked 4) and Hu Yun (ranked 6) of Hong Kong also have a base price of USD 50,000 among the men`s singles players.
Sony Dwi Kuncoro of Indonesia (ranked 10), Kenichi Tago (ranked 5) of Japan and Vietnam`s Tien Minh Nguyen (ranked 7), who will be available at a base price of USD 25,000, are the other current players who are in the top-10 in men`s world rankings.
In the women`s category, German star Juliane Schenk and Thailand`s Ratchanok Intanon will have a base price of USD 50,000, while two-time All England champion Tine Baun of Denmark will have a base price of USD 30,000).
Thai player Porntip Buranaprasertsuk (USD 20,000), Lindaweni Fanetri (USD 15,000) of Indonesia would be the other attractions in the auction that will be conducted by renowned London-based auctioneer Bob Hayton.
Interestingly, former world and Olympic champion Taufiq Hidayat, who recently retired from the international circuit, has a base price of USD 15,000.
The base price of RMV Gurusaidutt has been kept at USD 25,000 while for Ajay Jayaram`s bidding will start at the price of USD 30,000.
With the IBL governing council deciding to do away with the women`s doubles competition and instead going for two men`s singles, one women`s singles and a men`s doubles and mixed doubles in each tie, it will be interesting to see how icon players Gutta and Ponnappa will be bid as they will now be confined to playing just mixed doubles.
In the league stage, all the five games will be held in a tie even if the result is decided early but in the semifinals and finals, the last two games will not be played if the winner is decided earlier.
The IBL governing council also decided to adopt a new scoring system, which will see the games having two intervals and the decider shortened to a race to 11 points, will also make the auction an interesting one.