Superlatives and hyperbole dominated the Indian Badminton Leagues early pitch,packaging and eventual promotion. The temptation to ape the IPL was so fervent that the IBLs proposed scoring system stands out as the only original and refreshing idea,and not surprisingly was floated when the governing council essentially bonafide badminton brains got down to the nitty-gritties,taking over from the event managers.
Otherwise,badmintons million-dollar baby seemed like Richie Richs newest amusement set in what was really quite the ideators make-believe mansion. Why a league needed to be the richest in the world to be the best was never explained. Unchecked in their delusional grandeur,organisers went ahead announcing dazzling numbers to spruce up modest offerings in terms of players,and the figures they could command and earn.
No one was retracing the steps,or working the math backward,doing basic recces on sponsors and potential owners on really how much money could they put on the table. For a league with 2-and-half star value,coming from Lee Chong Wei and Saina Nehwal,and then the rest,the worlds richest league in this reticent sport was always going to be ambitious. What India is to cricket,China is to badminton and theres a reason why despite a crazed following for the sport,the Chinese,like the Indonesians previously have scaled down expectations from their own leagues.
Duty lies in details when such projects are conceptualised and from the embarrassing turn the auction took for Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponappa,it is evident that every nuance wasnt thought through thoroughly. The IBL looks like it will make rules as it goes along,with Lalit Modi-sh relish. Suited cricket alright,but a dazzling adjective will find it difficult to replace the doing verb.
(Shivani is an assistant editor based in Mumbai.)