Pune, will make their debut in PBL Season 4 against the defending champions, Hyderabad Hunters, on 22 December in Mumbai. Pune will host their home leg from 29 December, where they will face-off against Mumbai Rockets in their opening game.
Team and Player Profiles
The Pune team, baptized as the Pune 7 Aces and owned by Bollywood actress Taapsee Pannu will be making their debut in the PBL bandwagon in the forthcoming edition. Pune's inclusion adds to the excitement, making the league a 9-team affair. With a strong lineup on the singles and the doubles department, led by ace Spaniard Carolina Marin from the front, the Pune franchise is all set to aim for the crown and give the other teams a run for their money.
Carolina Marin (Icon): Associated with the PBL since its inception, Carolina Marin is one of the most experienced foreign players in the league. After plying her trade for two successful editions with the Hyderabad Hunters, she will lead the attack from the front for her new franchise. The Spaniard, who guided the Hunters to the title last season will be aiming to do an encore for the Aces in the upcoming edition as well. Winning the World Championship crown earlier in the year, coupled with wins at the China Open and the Japan Open, Marin is in sublime form and is focussed on taking Pune to success.
Line Kjaersfeldt (Women's Singles): Bronze medal winner at the 2010 BWF World Junior Championships, Danish shuttler Line Kjaersfeldt is yet another foreign attraction who will be making her debut in the PBL. Heralded for her agility and swiftness on the court, Line also possesses deft stroke play and has a rich repertoire of tricks up her sleeves. With Carolina Marin in the ranks, the Women's Singles department of the Pune 7 Aces looks like a tough force to reckon against.
Brice Leverdez (Men's Singles): French shuttler Brice Leverdez is a familiar name in PBL. He has been part of the Chennai Smashers and is well acclimatised to Indian conditions. Winning the European Championship earlier in the year, Brice has looked in good shape and will look to continue the fine form when he takes the court for Pune.
Ajay Jayaram (Men's Singles): A part of PBL since season 1, Ajay Jayaram has plied his tried across three franchises in the last three editions (Delhi Dashers, Mumbai Rockets & North Eastern Warriors) and will be donning the Pune 7 Aces outfit for the upcoming PBL4. With a wide array of shots and strong smashes his forte, Ajay Jayaram is certainly a name to watch out for in the Pune lineup.
Mathias Boe (Men's Doubles/Mixed Doubles): An integral cog of PBL3 finalists Bengaluru Blasters, Danish ace doubles shuttler Mathias Boe will take up the Pune mantle for the upcoming season. With a rich pool of laurels in his kitty, Boe is amongst the leading doubles players across the globe.
Vladimir Ivanov (Men's Doubles/Mixed Doubles): Russian shuttler Vladimir Ivanov is an established name in PBL, having been part of the league since its induction. 2014 European Championship winner, Ivanon is a highly rated doubles player and his addition brings in a plethora of experience to the Pune squad.
Chiraag Shetty (Men's Doubles/Mixed Doubles): Tall and lanky, Chiraag Shetty is a versatile doubles player and is a clinical addition to the doubles department of the Pune 7 Aces. One of the young and upcoming faces of Indian badminton, Chiraag won the gold at the Gold Coast CWG earlier in the year.
Lakshya Sen (Men's Singles): A teen prodigy and a former Junior World No 1, Lakshya Sen is a name to watch out for in the upcoming edition of the PBL. Junior World Championship bronze winner and runners-up at the Youth Olympics earlier this year, the youngster boasts of an illustrious track record at such a young age. His performance against Chinese stalwart Lin Dan was a prelude to a star in making and the youngster will leave nothing behind in his efforts make his mark to in his debut PBL season.
Prajakta Sawant (Mixed Doubles): A part of the North Eastern warriors in the last season, young talent Prajakta Sawant will be seen donning the Pune 7 out outfit in the upcoming edition. Sawant is a talented doubles player with a clinical ability to read the game.