Drawing the curtains down of Indian Badminton League with the finals on Saturday, some Icon players have lived up to the expectations and some youngsters have flashed through to the spot light by pulling off upsets by playing some quality badminton. So, I have compiled the list of players who have been consistent through-out this tournament and formed an All Stars team. Criteria: Number of matches won, Consistency of performance, Ranking of the opponents and Contribution to the team (Number of foreign players played is according to the IBL Rules).
Ajay Jayaram, Hyderabad Hotshots [Men’s Singles] : Indian Badminton League When the whole focus was on Saina Nehwal, the icon player of the Hyderabad team, the local lad has silently but surely contributed to the sides victory so far. Opening the campaign for Hyderabad Hotshots playing the first Men’s singles match in most of the ties, he had the responsibility of giving a good start and he provided it more often than not. His stamina and confidence level looked positive through the tournament. He even defeated the World Badminton Championships Bronze medalist – Tien Minh Nguyen on both the occasions they met each other. With the likes of Taufik Hidayat in the side, he has proved justice to his place.
Vladimir Ivanov, Mumbai Masters [Men’s Singles] : Indian Badminton League Coming with the versatility just for $15,000, he is equally capable of playing both singles and doubles. Vladimir Ivanov spear headed the team in the absence of the world no.01, Lee Chong Wei during the early stages. He has a better record in IBL than the worldno.11 Mark Zwiebler. He was also playing the mixed doubles matches with Sikki reddy. I still don’t get why Mumbai Masters plotted him to play back to back matches in the semifinals- Men’s singles vs. K Srikanth and the mixed doubles match against Markis Kido and Pia Bernadet. Mumbai Masters paid the price of playing tired Tine Baun and Vladimir Ivanov in the mixed doubles as they lost and ended the road. Whatever, he is one of the most utilized players of the tournament and he gets into my All-Stars team.
Saina Nehwal, Hyderabad Hotshots [Women’s Singles] : Indian Badminton League The queen of Indian Badminton came to the IBL Scene after missing out a medal in the World Championships held at china, but she didn’t miss any targets in the league so far. She has a clean record in this tournament, winning against Juliane Schenk, PV Sindhu and Tine Baun in style and also leading her side with enthusiasm. She gets to be the Icon Player of my team.
Mathias Boe, Pune Pistons and Akshay Dewalkar, Banga Beats [Men’s doubles] : Indian Badminton League Mathias Boe was the ‘bad boy’ of the IBL, even before the start for his angry comments about the unprofessional ethics followed during the IBL Auctions. I will go for a new pair in All-Stars team, joining the World Championships MD Silver medalist Boe with the young and rising Akshay Dewalkar of Banga Beats whose performance was more than what was expected. I will like to see his Denmark partner Carsten Mongensen but only three foreign players are allowed to play a tie. Ashwini Ponappa & Joachim
Fischer, Pune Pistons [Mixed Doubles] : The Pune based team bowed out in the semifinals after their 0-3 defeat vs. Hyderabad Hotshots, but Ashwini Ponappa lived up to the Icon Player title she was provided with. She won the decider in first two matches and also spoiled the dream of whitewash when they played Hyderabad in the league stages. The duo co-ordinated well with each other and out classed most of the opponents they played. This will be the team I can bet on in the decider match and the crunch situations.