Indian Badminton League: Top interesting facts
It's first day first show for the Indian Badminton League (IBL) on Wednesday. The Pune Pistons and Delhi Smashers, led by two of India's doubles specialists, Ashwini Ponnappa and Jwala Gutta, will be in action. Jwala and Ashwini though will feature only in the Mixed Doubles in the tie, as Women's Doubles isn't a part of the competition.
# The million-dollar Indian Badminton League, trumpeted as the sport's richest event, will be played over a fortnight between six city teams, using a more attacking style of play designed to excite the fans. (What's in store)
# The standard two-point gap to win a game has been abandoned in favour of a race to 21 points for the first two games and 11 points for the decider, if needed. There will also be a minute's commercial break after the seventh and 14th points in the first two games and after the sixth point in the decider.
# Each team, comprising four foreign players, six Indians and one upcoming Indian junior, will play on a home-and-away basis in the preliminary league, with the top four qualifying for the semi-finals. (Read preview)
# All ties, including the August 31 final in Mumbai, will have five matches -- two men's singles, and one each in women's singles, men's doubles and mixed doubles.
# Former India cricket captain Sunil Gavaskar, a keen badminton enthusiast, is linked to the Mumbai franchise which will play against teams from Pune, Lucknow, Delhi, Bangalore and Hyderabad.
# Saina Nehwal, the women's world number three, was bought by her home team of Hyderabad for $120,000, second only to the $135,000 paid for Lee by Gavaskar's Mumbai franchise.
# Pusarla Venkata Sindhu, a Hyderabadi like Saina, will play for Lucknow for $80,000, while Parupalli Kashyap was picked up by Bangalore for $75,000.
# The league's top draw world no.1 Lee Chong Wei is an injury doubt after being stretchered off the court during his world championship final against eventual champion Lin Dan on Sunday.
# Star shuttlers of Krrish Delhi Smashers have given thumbs up to the new scoring system for the USD one million IBL with their icon Jwala Gutta saying it will make the game faster and more aggressive.
# Hyderabad icon Saina says IBL will put players in the limelight but the players should continue performing well. (Continue reading)