IBL will benefit Indian players: Aparna Popat

Mumbai, Jul 28: Gearing up for her new role as coach of the Indian Badminton League franchise Mumbai Masters, two-time Olympian shuttler Aparna Popat said the initiative would benefit the country's players.

"I think it's a huge opportunity. There are a few top 10 players, who are playing the IBL and giving our players a chance to play against these players in a span of three weeks, I think is going to be very useful and fruitful for them," Aparna said.

She was also excited about the challenge of coaching a team in the August 14-31 event to be held in six cities.

"I haven't coached too much, but I have been following the game keenly. It is going to be a big challenge for me and I am very excited," Aparna said.

"It's a team event. There is going to be a considerable amount of strategy involved. Each player has his/her own playing style, so we just have to see how our opponents play and who are our respective opponents," she added.

Aparna Popat

Asked about the chances of her team that includes men's world number one Lee Chong Wei of Malaysia, she said, "We wouldn't like to speculate at this stage. Given this kind of format of a game, unexpected results happen. "So it is going to be tricky and since we need five matches to win, I don't think we can solely rely on one player. We are going to have to play as a team."

"Considering that we have only a limited kitty, all the teams have a couple of non-players on their side, but having said that Pranav Chopra is number one in doubles in our country. We have Siki Reddy who, I think, is number two in women's doubles in the country," she said.

"I am tremendously excited. They (Lee Chong Wei and Tine Baun) are great champions and it is brilliant to have them as part of our team," she said.

"We have a few top Indian players in the doubles side as well. Marc Zweibler is the European champion. (Vladimir) Ivanov, the Russian, is good to play all the events - singles, doubles and mixed doubles. I think we are okay with our team composition," Aparna quipped.


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