A new chapter unfolded yesterday in the history book of Indian badminton when the Indian Premier League-like auction was conducted in the Capital for the Indian Badminton League (IBL).
Doubtless, it is going to be a challenge for the administrators and players to create a serious level of interest for the sport that does not fall into the glamorous category. But proper administration, a good standard of play and adequate media coverage can move mountains for the shuttle sport which is played in every nook and corner of India.
India has produced some great players in this sphere —Nandu Natekar, Prakash Padukone, Syed Modi, Pullela Gopichand. From the current generation, the sky is the limit for Saina Nehwal ($120,000), P V Sindhu ($80,000) and P Kashyap ($75,000) and it is great to see them earning IBL big bucks. Hopefully, the event will give rise to more interest as well as training centres.
The last thing the IBL needs is controversy and that has every chance of happening whenever a money game is being played out alongside courtside action. It is often observed that smaller sports in India have the biggest problems in the corridors of power.
Legendary cricketer Sunil Gavaskar was reportedly one of the owners of the Mumbai franchise, but he has clarified (in this newspaper) that he is only the team’s brand ambassador. Yet, it is good news because Gavaskar, a badminton buff, can be expected to provide valuable inputs through his long-time association with a high-profile sport. Lest we forget, Gavaskar once headed the Cricket Committee of the International Cricket Council.
Sunny days are here again for badminton? Over to the IBL bosses!