Badminton: In need of an Eric Cantona?

Indonesian Hidayat, a sublime artiste on court who was also known as the McEnroe of badminton frequently throwing tantrums, and China’s Dan, the greatest player of all time, kept the sport regularly in the headlines with their on and off-court actions.

So, what does Badminton need to do to becomes louder and stronger? “May be a badminton player should marry Deepika Padukone…and be like Posh and Beckham,” joked England’s Nick Ponting, the former World No. 1 mixed doubles player and All England champion.   -  Stan Rayan

With Taufik Hidayat long gone and Lin Dan near the end of an impressive journey, badminton appears to be in danger of being a quieter world in the future.

Indonesian Hidayat, a sublime artiste on court who was also known as the McEnroe of badminton frequently throwing tantrums, and China’s Dan, the greatest player of all time, kept the sport regularly in the headlines with their on and off-court actions.

So what does badminton need to do to get stronger, louder and to ensure that it gets a bigger piece of the television pie to climb faster in the popularity charts?

“May be a badminton player should marry Deepika Padukone…and be like Posh and Beckham,” joked England’s Nick Ponting, the former World No. 1 mixed doubles player and All England champion, on the sidelines of the Manorama BWF World senior championship, here on Thursday evening.

But he also admitted that some of the rules in badminton make the sport stuffy.

“A lot of rules in badminton are now sterile. You can’t even put your towel on the side of the box,” said Ponting, also a former mixed doubles bronze medallist at the Worlds.

Joanne Muggeridge, the former two-time Commonwealth Games gold medallist who is playing mixed doubles here with Carl Jennings, once poured a can of coke over England manager Steve Baddeley’s head after she found her name missing from the elite squad.

That incident drew a lot more attention to badminton in England than a lot of on-court action.

“It actually did but probably not for the right reasons,” said Muggeridge who was once ranked No. 7 in the world in singles and doubles.

Sometimes, the bad guys are good for the sport too, they add spice to the mix.

“Like footballer Eric Cantona, he brought a lot of attention to the Premier League, made it a bit more fun,” said Muggeridge.