World number four Juliane Schenk of German has heaped praise on Pullela Gopichand, saying the Indian chief coach is doing a “great job” in helping the young shuttlers perform at world stage.
Schenk, who won the bronze medal at the last edition of World Championship in London, will turn up for Pune Pistons in the inaugural Indian Badminton League and hoped that the tournament will set a new benchmark for the sport.
“Badminton has huge potential and the IBL is setting new standards. Gopichand (India’s chief coach) is doing a great job with the players and an increasing number of Indians are now emerging into the world tour and challenging the more established and experienced players. PV Sindhu, Srikanth, Sai Praneeth and HS Prannoy are all doing well lately,” she said.
Schenk, who has often been pitted against India’s badminton queen Saina Nehwal, said the biggest challenge for the teams would be to bond together in quick time and also get into rhythm despite hectic travelling.
“I think one of the biggest challenges will be to form a strong team with different players coming from different countries,” she said.
“As you have five matches in each team encounter and almost each two days, getting the team into the rhythm with hectic travelling will be the key. The team which can connect the players and the coaches well with each other will stand a good chance of winning.”
The 30-year-old German, who is training for the World Championship in China next month with an acclimatization programme in Hong Kong, said she is looking forward to playing against Indian players in India.
“I have many good memories of playing in India and I’ll simply try my best to enjoy each single match and also help my team-mates to perform. But yes, playing Indian players on home soil will always be challenging as I guess they won’t lack any motivation,” she said.
Talking further about IBL, Schenk said: “For the first time in badminton history, there is a league where teams can buy players and bid for them at an auction. The IBL opens up the market and brings new perspective not only to players, but also to the sport in general.”
The 2013 India Open runners-up added: “The concept of auctioning players is common in soccer and cricket, but the IBL has introduced an interesting dimension to badminton by creating a new value for players in the market.”
The USD 1-million Indian Badminton League is set to be held from August 14 with Krrish Delhi Smashers taking on Pune Pistons. The iaugural IBL will feature six franchises and will run for 18 days.
Each franchise will host a two-day leg and the League will showcase a grand total of 90 matches. The top four franchises in the League will clash in the semifinals and the winners will meet in the final on August 31 in Mumbai.