Hyderabad: With a tag of defending champions, Delhi Acers will be under a little bit of pressure entering into the second season of Premier Badminton League (PBL) which will kick off on January 1 at the Gachibowli Indoor Stadium here. However, the team management is not looking at this tag as an extra burden but as a motivation factor. On paper, the team looks strong and they have players in their ranks to topple any opposition.
Leading the Acer’s challenge will be men’s World No.2 Jan Jorgensen from Denmark and World No.4 Son Wan Ho from South Korea. Both are in red hot form notching up their highest ranks to end the year on a high.
Jorgensen has been a consistent performer in the year. Though he had won only one title – China Open Super Series Premier _ he had reached the finals at two other tournaments. Korean Son Wan Ho, too, has run into a fine form. He toppled World No.1 Lee Chong Wee in Dubai Super Series Finals, which stands as a testimony of his calibre.
Besides these two, India’s finest youngster Siril Verma makes the third member of the team. The last year’s junior world championship silver medallist ended runner-up at the Russian Open and looks to dominate the senior category. The presence of World No.12 men’s doubles pair from Russia Vladimir Ivanov and Ivan Sozonov and India’s top doubles player Jwala Gutta bode well for the team’s chances of defending the title. However, the lack of a solid player in women’s singles, is a matter of concern. This season, they have roped in Litchaon Jindapol from Malaysia to the squad.
Talking about the team’s composition, Acers’ coach Madhumita Bisht feels that if the players play to their potential there is no reason why they can’t defend the title. “All teams are very good this season, not just our team. According to me, it all depends on that day’s performance. We have brought some good players from the auction. We have strong men and men’s doubles teams. We lacked top women’s singles player last season. But now we got Jindapol who got good victories over top players. This time it is 11-point system and you will never know what is going to happen. It will be nail-biting contest for sure,” she says.
Talking about the importance of the Trump match she says, “The Trump match is very important for us. Last year we did not have good start. We lost first two matches. But we got Trump match points. After two matches, we won the next four matches and went on to record victories in semifinals and finals,” she adds.
MS: Jan Jorgensen (Denmark), Son Wan Ho (Korea), Siril Verma;
M/XD: Vladimir Ivanov (Russia), Ivan Sozonov (Russia); Akshay Dewalkar;
WS: Aakarshi Kashya; Litchaon Jindapol (Malaysia)
WD: Jwala Gutta, Maneesha Kukkapalli