Trump matches will make PBL exciting: Gopichand

Mumbai, Dec 30 (IANS) Indian badminton national team chief coach Pullela Gopichand on Wednesday said the new rule of ‘Trump Match’, introduced in the second edition of Premier Badminton League (PBL), will make the tournament an exciting one for both players and fans.

PBL’s second edition is all set to start from January 2 with a clash between Awadhe Warriors, spearheaded by 2012 Olympic bronze medallist and 2015 World Championship silver medallist Saina Nehwal, and Mumbai Rockets here. Besides Mumbai, other five franchisee participating are Delhi Acers, Hyderabad Hunters, Bengaluru Top Guns, Chennai Smashers, and Lucknow-based Awadhe Warriors.

A team winning the ‘Trump Match’, after selecting one of the five matches in a tie, would fetch them a bonus point (+2) and a negative point (-1) in case of defeat.

“It’s a great addition to the league to ensure that the excitement remains till the end of the tie. Each team has to nominate a trump match from among five matches. Teams have to finalise their line-up one and a half hours before the tie. At that time they have to mention which will be their trump match,” Gopichand said at a press conference here.

“Two teams can nominate the same match as trump match. Even a 3-0 lead is not sufficient to win as you still can lose the tie. Spectators’ interest will be kept alive. It needs to be seen how the players react to the extra pressure. Some play better under pressure and some others crack,” he said.

Speaking on the league, he said, “I am really excited to see the league help youngsters and aspiring players play against top stars. Also this league will help one get a name for him or her. All team look strong, it will be difficult to pick a favourite from the six teams. All teams have their strengths and weaknesses. All fans can expect fireworks in days to come.”

The 42-year-old believes it will give a great platform for young Indian shuttlers to showcase their talent against top players in front of home crowd.

“Indians playing in front of home crowd and against quality opponents will give them a big challenge ahead of them. This sort of big stage is very helpful,” he said.

“The number of players compared to the first edition (now-defunct Indian Badminton League) has increased this time. Overall all teams look balanced one and that will give a fighting contest in the upcoming days.”

When asked about the prospect of Indian shuttlers in upcoming Olympics, the 2001 All England singles champion said: “There is lot of time before the Olympics. The qualifications for the event are also not started yet. I think there are lot of tournaments before the Olympics for the shuttlers to prepare themselves. To better the performance than what we had done in 2012 would be great.

“I think to have a bigger contingent there will give us a chance to clinch as many medals as possible. I believe all of our players who will qualify will stand a chance to win medals,” Gopichand said.

 

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