PBL 2017: TEAM PREVIEW -- North Eastern Warriors may lack the fireworks but expect the unexpected

NORTH EASTERN WARRIORS, another debutant side in the third edition of the Premier Badminton League (PBL) will look kick-start their proceedings on a positive note.

In the men's singles category, they have the services of Tzu Wei Wang (Taiwan) and Ajay Jayaram. The 22-year-old Taiwanese is in the top 10 World Rankings currently. His major achievements this year come as three runners-up title at New Zealand, Chinese Taipei and German GPG tournaments.

Ajay too has had his share of ups and downs this year. The Mumbai lad is the one who set up the rise of Indian men's singles shuttlers. At the Malaysia SSP held in the month of April, he was the only Indian shuttler to enter quarter-finals beating Viktor Axelsen but then succumbed to defeat at the hands of Son Wan Ho. With this performance he reached his career best ranking of No. 13.

But injuries were part of his journey, it kept him away from action. He had miss the Senior National Badminton Championships held in Nagpur in November. And also missed out on the following two major events like China and Hong Kong Open.

PBL is his comeback since then and he and the team will be hoping that Ajay will deliver as expected continue his great form in the tournament.

The 22-year-old Pratul Joshi is the third shuttler in this category. But it is unlikely that he would much game time in the presence of two experienced shuttlers unless an injury situation arises.

In the women's singles category, they have Michelle Li of Canada and youngster Ruthvika Shivani. The 26-year-old Canadian is likely to be the top pick for the team as she more experience as compared to Ruthvika at the international circuit. This year Michelle has had just one title at the Peru International and stood runners-up at the Dutch Grand Prix.

She may have experience but when compared to other women singles shuttlers in the tournament, NorthEast might fall short in this department unless we have a surprise in store.

In the men's doubles department they have Shin Baek Cheol, Chirag Shetty and Kim Gi Jung. It would be interesting to see the pairing of the retired 28-year-old Shin Baek and young doubles sensation Chirag.

Chirag along with his partner Satwik has been gaining lot of attention with their performances. This should be a successful pairing for the new team.

Meanwhile Kim Gi could be paired with Prajakta Sawant who also has the experience of playing mixed doubles at the international circuit. They also have the services of Sanyogita Ghorpade.

As a whole, this team doesn't necessarily stand out among the rest but if they can find the right balance and combination, then it might be a different story altogether.

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