Good times await sports lovers with the inaugural edition of the Indian Badminton League (IBL) 2013 set to kick off on Wednesday in Delhi. The tournament proposed by Badminton Association of India (BAI) will come to an end after 18 days of competition on 31 August.
Inspired by the stupendous success of Indian Premier League, a sporting extravaganza of Twenty20 cricket, Indian Badminton League is going to be interesting with some of the world's biggest names participating in the tournament.
The six franchises - Hyderabad Hotshots, Banga Beats, Krrish Delhi Smashers, Awadhe Warriors, Pune Pistons and Mumbai Masters, will play matches in two legs - home and away. Going by IPL format of promoting Indian players, each team will comprise of six Indian players, four foreigners and a junior Indian.
A total of 90 matches will be played and the top four teams will feature in the semi-finals. The winners of the semi-finals will progress to the final to be played in Mumbai on 31 August. The tournament will be broadcast live on ESPN and Star Sports 2.
FRANCHISE INFORMATION AND COMPLETE TEAM LIST
Banga Beats: Owned by the BOP Group, the Bangalore franchise will be led by India's ace shuttler Parupalli Kashyap who was bought for $75,000. Hu Yun, world No.6, and men's doubles world No.6 Carsten Mongensen are the players to watch out for.
Team List: Parupalli Kashyap (c) (India), Hu Yun (Hong Kong), Carsten Mogensen (Denmark), Akshay Dewalkar (India), Tai Tzu-ying (Chinese Taipei), Aparna Balan (India), Carolina Marin (Spain), Arvind Bhat (India), Aditya Prakash (India), J. Meghana (India), Daniel Farid (India)
Hyderabad Hotshots: Owned by the PVP Ventures, the Hyderabad team has India's badminton star Saina Nehwal as the captain. She was bought for a whopping $120,000. They are a good mix of local and foreign shuttlers.
Team List: Saina Nehwal (c) (India), Pradnya Gadre (India), Tarun Kona (India), Ajay Jayaram (India), Taufik Hidayat (Indonesia), Tanongsak (Thailand), Goh V Shem (Malaysia), Lim Khim Wah (Malaysia), Kanthi Visalakshi P (India), Shubhankar Dey (India), C. Rahul Yadav (India)
Krrish Delhi Smashers: Owned by the Krrish Group, the Delhi franchise will be led by India's doubles star Jwala Gutta. They boast of Boon Heong Tan and Kien Kiat Koo, world No.2 mixed doubles pair, and world No. 12 Wong Wing Ki of Hong Kong.
Team List: Jwala Gutta (c) (India), Daren Liew (Malaysia), H. S. Prannoy (India), Sai Praneeth (India), Arundhati Pantawane (India), Boon Heong Tan (Malaysia), Kien Keat Koo (Malaysia), V. Diju (India), Nichaon Jindapon (Thailand), Prajakta Sawant (India)
Mumbai Masters: Owned by actor Akkineni Nagarjuna and former Indian cricketers Sunil Gavaskar and V Chamundeshwarnath, the Mumbai franchise is led by world No.1 Lee Chong Wei from Malaysia, who was bought for a whopping $135,000. The team also has former world No.1 Tine Baun of Denmark.
Team List: Lee Chong Wei (c) (Malaysia), Pranav Chopra (India), Tine Baun (Denmark), Marc Zwiebler (Germany), Vladimir Ivanov (Russia), Siki Reddy (India), Manu Attri (India), P. C. Thulasi (India), Sumeet Reddy (India), Rasika Raje (India), Harsheel Dani (India)
Pune Pistons: Owned by Dabur India Limited, the Pune Franchise is led by Ashwini Ponnappa. The team has world No.2 Juliane Schenk of Germany and world No.7 Nguyen Tien Minh of Vietnam.
Team List: Ashwini Ponnappa (c) (India), Nguyen Tien Minh (Vietnam), Saurabh Verma (India), Anup Sridhar (India), Juliane Schenk (Germany), Joachiam Fischer Nielsen (India), Sanave Thomas (India), Arun Vishnu (India), Tan Wee Kiong (Malaysia), Rupesh Kumar (India)
Awadhe Warriors: Owned by the Sahara Group, the Lucknow team is led by PV Sindhu, who won a bronze medal in the recent World Championships. The team has world No.9 in mixed doubles Markis Kido, world no.12 Wei Feng, and men's doubles world No. 7. Maneepong Jongjit.
Team List: PV Sindhu (c) (India), Gurusai Dutt (India), K. Srikanth (India), Ruthvika Shivani (India), K. Maneesha (India), Nanda Gopal (India), Maneepong Jongjit (Thailand), Vinay Singh (India), Sapsiree Taerattanachai (Thailand), Markis Kido (Indonesia), Chong Wei Feng (Malaysia)