The Indian Badminton league (IBL) isn’t exactly a smashing hit but this statement from Lee Chong Wei is bound to cheer up the organisers. “I have played twice in the China League. This is my first time in India. And I think (the) India (league) is better. Next year, I think you can do better. The Chinese league is a long one; it’s played over six months. The Indian league is played over just three weeks,” the Malaysian World No.1 said on Monday.
Wei is no Mumbaikar, but the 30-year-old will be the cynosure of all eyes when Mumbai Masters take on Krrish Delhi Smashers at the National Sports Club of India in Worli here on Tuesday. Wei, who missed the first round of matches due to a hamstring injury he picked up during the final of World Championships recently, attracted a cool $135,000-bid at the auction.
“I’m happy to be here and participate in this competition; it’s great to see the sport picking up in the country.” he said.
Wei will have for company Marc Zweibler, Tine Baun, Pranav Jerry Chopra, Manu Attri, Siki Reddy, PC Thulasi, Vladimir Ivanov, Rasika Raje and Sumeet Reddy. “The quality in each of our squad members speaks volumes and the morale and team chemistry in the camp couldn’t be any higher at present,” he added.
Wei, who has won two silver medals in the Olympics as well as the World Championships, knows how much the team is dependent on him for that first point. “I’m not letting this get to me.
I shall play my natural game and since I’ll be the first one to play, it’s important for that the team gets off to a good start.”
Germany’s Zwiebler, the reigning European champion is no less excited. “We all are delighted to have Lee here. But we need to realise that Lee will only be playing one match. And it’s up to the rest of us to rise to the occasion,” he said.