The Badminton World Federation (BWF) had initiated a new experimental scoring system earlier this year. The same system is now being put to test at the ongoing Tata Open India International Challenge which is being held at the Cricket Club of India (CCI) courts since Wednesday.
In accordance with the new system, the matches are being decided by a “best of five games with 11 points in each game.”
This system has been adopted in a bid to make games faster, thereby making the sport more attractive for the audience. Only time will tell whether the new system is good or bad; the jury is still out on that. However, as of now, Vimal Kumar, the coach of Saina Nehwal has slammed the new system.
As reported in the Times of India (TOI), Kumar insisted that a new system should first be tested out at lower levels. He said, "I feel that the BWF should try to test this system only at series and challenge level tournaments. At the highest level, they must persist with the current system (21points, best-of-three games) otherwise for many players, winning a tournament will become like a lottery."
The former national champion also mentioned how the matches are ending faster and it is not something that the top players are comfortable with. "In the proposed structure, matches are getting over very fast. You can ask any of the coaches and players. I don't think many will agree with this system. I feel this is being done mainly to fit in all the five finals within three hours for television audiences," he said.
On a more nuanced note, Vimal opined that the format eradicates the toughness from the sport as the fitness of a player is hardly tested. He said, "Personally, I don't agree with this format because it takes away the toughness from the sport. Fitness levels of players are hardly tested as is the case with their skill levels. If the system is implemented at top tournaments in the future, the sport will be reduced to a version of cricket's T20 format. The skill aspect of players will vanish."
Vimal added that the administrators want the matches to be over quickly and they have the notion that something needs to be done to curtail the length of the games. He added, "But for me, matches should be allowed to go the distance. Surely, nobody is complaining."