Awell-balanced team, Delhi Smashers will be hoping to use theirassortment of specialist players to trump the star-studded lineups inthe other teams, writes Suhrid Barua.
Gurgaon-basedbusiness conglomerate Krrish Group, which owns the Delhi Smashers,must be a happy lot at the end of the auction simply because they didnot spend a large chunk of their purse on a single player and insteaddistributed their funds among a variety of specialists. The Delhioutfit looks relatively well-balanced, with various players seeminglyhand-picked to fulfill specific roles.
Theformat of the IBL is such that over-reliance on one player canboomerang on the team’s winning aspirations. By refusing tosplash their cash on expensive individual players, Delhi Smashershave managed to get players who can get the job done without too muchfanfare. The management seems to have done its homework well evenbefore the auction started by roping in an experienced coach likeRashid Sidek.
Rashid’sexploits as a player for Malaysia hardly needs any introduction. Hehas essayed a big role in nurturing young talents while working withthe Badminton Association of Malaysia, and his rich experience willwork perfectly for the Krrish Delhi Smashers.
Mixof Indian and international talent bodes well for men’s andwomen’s singles
India’sB Sai Praneeth, who stunned the world number 6 Yun Hu of Hong Kong inthe Singapore Open in June, along with fellow countryman HS Prannoy,who has also made rapid strides on the international stage, will belooking to complement Hong Kong’s world number 16 Wong Wing Ki,who will seek to shoulder the lion’s share of the singlesresponsibilities.
Itis premature to say whether icon player Jwala Gutta would be playingin the women’s singles or not. Thailand’s world number 16Nichaon Jindapon appears to be the Smashers’ best bet for thewomen’s singles category. And they have a decent second singlesoption in Arundhati Pantawane. The Smashers’team managementwill have to take a call on whom to pick for the women’ssingles category.
Formidablepresence in men’s doubles and mixed
Onthe whole, things are looking good for the Delhi outfit. Theirstrength in doubles and mixed doubles, in particular, could help tiltthe scales in their favour against many an opposition team. CoachRashid will be hoping that Delhi’s handpicked players bringglory to the team.
Theteam won’t have any selection headaches for the men’sdoubles category as the world number two doubles pair of Boon HoengTan and Kien Keat Koo look almost certain to represent them in thatcategory.
TheRashid Sidek-coached outfit must be also breathing easy as far as themixed doubles category is concerned. They have V Diju, who hasexcelled for India along with Jwala Gutta for a long time. It ishighly probable that V Diju will play the mixed doubles with JwalaGutta considering the experience they bring to the team having playedfor India with distinction.
PrajaktaSawant, the latest doubles partner of Jwala Gutta after she partedways with Ashiwini Poonappa, is another option the Smashers canexercise.
“Ourvision is that in next few years is representation of Delhi playersin the national and international arena should increase and Delhiplayers should form the core of Krrish Delhi Smashers.”
Owners:Krrish Group, MD – O.P. Katyal
AboutKrrish Group: Krrish Group, which deals in distillery, breweries,construction and real estate, will make its debut in sports arena.
“Weare very excited and proud to have bid and won the franchise for theDelhi team. With badminton being one of the most popular sports inthe country we had no inhibition to bid for a franchise in the IndianBadminton League and we consider ourselves lucky that we got the teamthat we were targeting for. What prompted us to venture into thisLeague was the format as it promises to create a difference forbudding talent at grass root level,” Amit Katyal, owner of theKrrish Group said.
ChiefCoach: Rashid Sidek, Former Malaysian Olympic bronze medalist
ICONplayer: Jwala Gutta, 29, winner of 13 National BadmintonChampionships, gold medalist in doubles and silver medalist in mixeddoubles at the 2010 Commonwealth Games, bronze medalist in doubles atthe 2011 World Championships in London
Highestdoubles ranking in BWF : 6.
11thUnder-19 Player: Utkarsh Arora
|1||Jwala Gutta (India)||XD|
|2||Wong Wing Ki (Hong Kong)||MS|
|3||H. S. Prannoy (India)||MS|
|4||Sai Praneeth (India)||MS|
|5||Arundhati Pantawane (India)||WS|
|6||Boon Heong Tan (Malaysia)||MD|
|7||Kien Keat Koo (Malaysia)||MD|
|8||V. Diju (India)||MD/XD|
|9||Nichaon Jindapon (Thailand)||WS|
|10||Prajakta Sawant (India)||XD|