The aim is to lure spectators

For a new experience… The who’s who of Indian badminton at the launch of the Indian Badminton League in Mumbai.-PTI

The inaugural edition of the $1 million Indian Badminton League, scheduled to commence on August 14, features six teams — Delhi Smashers, Awadhe Warriors Lucknow, Mumbai Masters, Banga Beats, Pune Pistons and Hyderabad Hotshots. Each franchise has 10 players — four foreign and six Indians.

Played on home and away basis, the matches in the IBL will consist of two men’s singles, men’s doubles, women’s singles and mixed doubles. The top four will make it to the semi-finals. The final is scheduled for August 31 in Mumbai.

The Governing Council of the IBL has drawn up a new set of rules and regulations to make the matches more spectator-friendly.

Some of the novelty elements introduced in the IBL are:

a) Each team consists of a minimum 10 players and a maximum of 11, including four foreign players. Each team must nominate a minimum of four players (three men and one woman) for a match.

b) Not more than three foreign players can play in a match.

c) No player shall play more than two matches in a tie.

d) Unlike in regular events, where a winner is separated from the loser by two points, in IBL the first one to reach 21 points will be the winner.

e) If the match goes to the third and deciding game, the winner will be decided over an 11-point game with no stipulation that there should be a two-point gap between the winner and the loser.

f) There will be two one-minute breaks in the first two games when either of the players reaches the seven-point mark and the 14-point mark. In the decider, there will be a 60-second break when either of the players reaches the six-point mark. Besides, there will be an additional two-minute break between the games.

g) In the group stage, all five matches in a tie will be played even if a team wins the first three matches. However, in the knockout phase, a team winning the first three matches advances to the next stage and need not play the two remaining matches.

h) IBL will have a bonus points system under which a team that drubs the opposition 5-0 will get six points. For 4-1 and 3-2 victory margins it will be five and four bonus points respectively.

i) In case a team is unable to complete a match in a tie, the result of that match shall be considered to be 21-0, 21-0 for the purpose of deciding the rankings in the pool system. Retiring during a match will be considered as not completing the match.

Former All England champion and now India’s chief coach Pullela Gopi Chand is of the view that the new format brings with it an element of interest and at the same time also offers immense scope for a relatively unknown player to get the better of a seasoned campaigner.

“The whole idea behind IBL is to give a new look to the sport and lure a new fan base. Against this backdrop, I sincerely believe these experiments are worth trying,” said Gopi.

“Well, these changes may not mean much to players like World No. 1 Lee Chong Wei or a Taufik Hidayat (former Olympic champion) or a Saina Nehwal, for they have the game and the class to rise to the occasion in any format,” said Bhamidipati Sai Praneeth, an emerging talent who will play for Delhi Smashers. “But, it should be an exciting experience to play in this League,” he added.

V.V. Subrahmanyam