Hyderabad Hotshots are clearly enjoying their success in the Indian Badminton League (IBL) and the prevailing mood was amply reflected during their vigorous training session at the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Stadium last evening.
But there was one player who maintained a rather low profile even as his teammates went about having a go at each other on court, and chatted freely during the course of training. Ajay Jayaram spent most of his time under the close watch of his team’s physiotherapist.
The Mumbai lad, who apart from Saina Nehwal, has been instrumental in his team’s progress in the competition was in no mood to exert himself before the all-important final tonight as he recuperates from a thigh strain.
He accounted for World No 5 Tien Minh Nguyen from Vietnam twice in the IBL and also beat Denmark’s World No 9 Jan O Jorgensen. With such victories to his credit, it is natural that the 25-year-old is in a good frame of mind, the thigh-strain notwithstanding.
“I am happy with my performance and these results will certainly boost my confidence in the coming tournaments,” said the World No 24, before adding: “Now I am keen to change the giant-killer tag. I want to win against top players more consistently.
Jayaram was eagerly looking forward to tonight’s finale and said he will be particularly thrilled as he is contesting for the trophy in his home town.
“I can proudly say that I have two home cities in the Indian Badminton League — Hyderabad, the team that I represent, and Mumbai, where I have played most of my badminton.” Jayaram is also very happy with the response the IBL has received so far.
“It was the first time that all of us were featuring in this format of badminton. But it has been a very rewarding experience. I am sure all of us will become better players from here,” he explained.