Bengaluru, December 8: Bengaluru Raptors will kick start the off the upcoming season of the Premier Badminton League (PBL) on December 28 in Hyderabad against Ahmedabad Smash Masters.
The Bengaluru team, was the runners-up last season and this will be the first time they will be playing at home. With the season four commencing, the League aims to get bigger and better. The team aims to connect with the city fans in a big way this time around.
Have you blocked your calendar 🗓 ??— Bengaluru Raptors (@blr_raptors) November 30, 2018
PBL Season 4 kicks off this December 22nd 2018!!! It’s going to be one helluva season!!! Let’s Go Raptors!!! @srikidambi @saiprneeth92 @ellis_marcus111 @LaurenE_Smith
.#pbl #badminton #season4 #bengaluru #raptors #goraptors #raptorpack pic.twitter.com/PfZHpovIwA
Bengaluru is set to host eight days of action including the semis and finals of the fourth edition. As we are a few weeks away from the season opener, in a build up to the tournament we will bring you the player profiles of all the teams. To begin with here’s a look at the Bengaluru Raptors team for the upcoming season.
Owned by the Matrix Badminton Teamworks Pvt Ltd, the Bengaluru franchise will be donning a new look for the fourth edition of the Premier Badminton League (PBL) after being rechristened as the Bengaluru Raptors.
Finalists of the previous season, the Raptors are all set to aim for the crown with a strong lineup on the singles and the doubles department. With ace Indian shuttler Kidambi Srikanth spearheading the attack on court it will be a treat to watch the team play.
Kidambi Srikanth (Icon): A veteran in PBL having represented the Awadhe Warriors in the past two editions, Kidambi Srikanth’s addition will bring in a lot of experience to the squad. Srikanth has enjoyed a successful 2018 that saw him win the silver at the Gold Coast CWG. Now, with PBL 4 just around the corner, the Indian World no 8 is focussed on taking Bengaluru to the pinnacle of success and ending the year on a high.
Sai Praneeth (MS): A part of the PBL 3 winning Hyderabad Hunters squad, dynamic singles shuttler Sai Praneeth will be seen plying his trade for the Bengaluru Raptors in the upcoming edition. Fourth Indian to win a Super Series title after Saina Nehwal, P.V.Sindhu and Kidambi, Praneeth is a hardworking athlete who relies on tact and control.
Training companion of Kidambi Srikanth, it will be a partnership to watch out for and could be the ace that could take the Raptors to the crown.
Nguyen Tien Minh (MS): Four-times Southeast Asian Games bronze medalist, Vietnam’s Nguyen Tien Minh is all geared up to make his debut in the world’s richest badminton league. Renowned for his agility and swiftness on the court, Nguyen also possess deft stroke play and has a rich repertoire of tricks up his sleeves. With Srikanth and Praneeth in the lineup, Nygun’s addition makes Bangalore a force to reckon against.
Vu Thi Thrang (WS): Vu Thi Thrang is yet another Vietnamese in the Bangalore ranks and is the spouse of fellow Olympian and Raptors teammate Nygun Tien Minh. A bronze medallist at the 2010 Youth Olympic Games, the PBL debutant looks all ready to shoulder responsibilities in the WS category.
Hendra Setiawan (MD): With a rich pool of laurels in his kitty, Indonesia’s Hendra Setiawan is amongst the greatest and leading doubles players in the world. 2008 Beijing Olympics gold winner and a three-time World Championship winner, the Indonesian World No 9 is a mantra for success. Having made his PBL debut last year for the Awadhe Warriors, Setiawan is familiar to the Indian conditions and will once again try and live up to his lofty standards when he takes the court for the Bengaluru Raptors in PBL 4.
Lauren Smith (XD): With three Commonwealth Games silver medals, Lauren Smith is one of the highly rated shuttlers who will be making their debut in the Premier Badminton League in the upcoming season. The Englishman have been in sublime form this year winning the Scottish Open (XD), Dutch Open (XD), Czech Open (WD), and the Canada Open (XD). Also with her XD partner Marcus Ellis in the Bengaluru Raptors lineup, the duo will be a lethal opponent to face off against.
Marcus Ellis (MD): Winner of the Rio 2016 Olympics bronze medal and 2018 CWG gold medal, Marcus Ellis is the star doubles attraction in the Raptors squad. With an illustrious career ever since his foray, the English shuttler has heralded an international repute and looks confident to guide the Bengaluru squad to their maiden PBL title.
Mohammad Ahsan (MD): Indonesia’s Mohammad Ahsan is yet another shuttler who will be making his foray for the first time in the PBL. Two-time World Championship gold winner, Ahsan is renowned for his deceptive stroke-play and it will be an intriguing contest to watch the World No 9 take forward the Bengaluru Raptors mantle in the upcoming fourth edition of PBL.
Mithun Manjunath (MS): Young shuttler Mithun Manjunath has made a swift climb up the ranks and turned eyes winning two back to back Senior Ranking tournaments earlier this year. He continued the fine form reaching the semi-final stage of the Vietnam Open and the Russian Open. With PBL 4 emphasising on promoting youngsters, Manjunath will be keen to use the platform to establish himself.
Sanjana Santosh (XD): A part of the Bengaluru squad last year as well, Sanjana Santosh continues her association with the franchise in the new season. A talented doubles player with a clinical ability to read the game, Sanjana Santosh is excited to play alongside some of the big names in world badminton and will hope to use it as a learning curve in her overall growth.