The first edition of Indian Badminton League came to a thrilling end with the Saina Nehwal-led team, Hyderabad Hotshots, bagging the title. Though the tournament didn’t set the TRPs soaring, it definitely made people sit up and notice. With badminton’s carnival coming to an end, it would be fair to say that the tournament was a success if not a runaway hit.
Conceived along the lines of Indian Premier League, IBL did manage to live up to the promise of the cash-rich T20 event. Here are some points that are worth noticing about the IBL:
Entertainment: IPL is known for its entertainment quotient since sixes and fours rain aplenty. The tight finishes in the T20 league promise excitement and a value for money. It would be fair to say IBL has ticked these boxes satisfactorily.
A handful of matches went down to the fifth tie, where the mixed doubles players played out of their skin to snatch victory for their teams. The second semi-final between Awadhe Warriors and Mumbai Masters went down the wire and was intensely contested. It was one of the best matches of the tournament as both the teams played hard and fair.
Glamour: If Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan, owner of Kolkata Knight Riders, and Shilpa Shetty, co-owner of Rajasthan Royals, added glamour to IPL, the badminton league too wasn’t short on this count. Actress Taapsee Pannu looked like one of the teammates of Hyderabad Hotshots as she travelled with the team to all the venues and cheered loudly for them from the stands.
Besides, other actors such as Rana Daggubati, Charmy Kaur too added glamour to the event by watching the matches from the stands. Moreover, sportstars such as Sachin Tendulkar, Mahesh Bhupathi did their bit as well by being present at the stadiums.
Controversy: Unfortunately, like its richer ‘brother’ league, the IPL, IBL too was shrouded in many a controversy. The first edition of IPL was marred by the S Sreesanth’s slapgate episode. IBL too wasn’t far behind. Be it the slashing of prices at the auctions or the war-of-words between Saina Nehwal and Jwala Gutta, IBL, not unlike the IPL, grabbed the headlines for the wrong reasons as well.
Fan following: It was logical for fans to identify with the IPL franchisees since cricket is like a religion in India. But to see fan following for teams like Hyderabad Hotshots, Delhi Smashers in such a short span of time was indeed heartwarming. Crowds came out in dozens to support their home teams and it bodes well for the future of Indian Badminton League.