New Delhi: Legendary Indian cricketer Sunil Gavaskar has joined hands with South Indian actor Nagarjuna and Hyderabad-based businessman V Chamundeshwarnath to co-own the Mumbai franchise of the Indian Badminton League (IBL).
More than 150 players are expected to go under the hammer at the players' auction that will see six franchises bidding to fill 66 slots. Hyderabad HotShots, Karnataka Kings (Bangalore), Lucknow Warriors, Mumbai Masters, Pune Vijetas and Rajdhani Smashers (Delhi) are the six teams that will play the IBL with 11 players each. Each team can have a maximum of four foreign players with one mandatory under-19 player from their local area.
The players' auction for the $1 million league, scheduled for August 14 to 31, was to take place on July 19, but it has reportedly been postponed for 3 days after the franchises expressed their desire to have a workshop before the auction.
Indian stars Saina Nehwal, Jwala Gutta, Ashwini Ponnappa, Parupalli Kashyap and PV Sindhu are the five icon players with a base price of $50,000. A yet-to-be-named foreign star will be the sixth icon player. The league will have a total of 90 matches.
Co-owner of the Mumbai franchise, Nagarjuna promised a long association with the IBL. "Badminton as a sport has rendered our country immense global presence and limelight for which we all are proud of. We look forward to a strong and successful association with both BAI and Sporty Solutionz for all the editions of IBL."
Gavaskar said he always admired the sport of badminton, which he follows passionately. "I am proud to be associated with badminton which I've always admired and passionately followed and played a bit as a fan. The sport has produced legends and recorded many milestones for India and I hope my association with the Indian Badminton League proves to be a worthy contribution to the great sport of badminton."