Cricket may be a religion in India. But the craze for badminton too seems to be catching up fast - thanks to the burgeoning popularity of sports leagues in the country and PV Sindhu's recent bronze win at the World Badminton Championships!
Backed by the phenomenal success of Indian Premier League (IPL), now sports like badminton are trying to cash in the league fame and gain recognition. After much hype and hoopla, hurdles and huff, the Indian Badminton League (IBL) is all set to premiere today.
It's not that badminton is an unheard sport in India. The sport has drawn buzz off and on, in bits and spurts albeit. India has had badminton ace like Prakash Padukone, the first Indian to reach the All England final in 1947. Then there were others like Chetan Anand, Prakash Nath, Nandu Natekar, Suresh Goel, and Pullela Gopi Chand.
In recent times, we have had talents like Saina Nehwal, the duo of Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponappa, and Parupalli Kashyap who have rocked at the international stage.
And PV Sindhu's bronze win has just added extra zing to the already soaring hype of the upcoming badminton championship.
It would be irrational, however, to compare IBL's popularity with IPL.
Armed with six teams - Krish Delhi Smashers, Awadhe Warriors, Pune Pistons, Mumbai Masters, Banga Beats, Hyderabad Hotshots - fans will be spoilt for choice.
(AW: Suchorita Dutta)