India at Commonwealth Games 2018 : Basketball players to try their luck from 5th April
After a hiatus of 12 years, basketball is making its return to the Commonwealth Games, and once again in Australia, but this time at Gold Coast City instead of Melbourne. The basketball edition, like most of the events, shall start from 5th of April, a day after the opening ceremony, to be held on 4th of April.
It is also after 12 years, that India, once again, is sending both its teams for the basketball event, having satisfied the requisite criteria for the FIBA/CGF approved invitation to the respective tournaments.
As per the tournament structure revealed by the Gold Coast CWG organizing committee, eight teams are participating in both the segments of the basketball tournament [men and women], of which two teams from each group get an automatic entry into the semifinals, while the latter two teams of each group will have to fight it out in the qualifying finals to gain an entry into the semifinals. Following is a schedule for both the men's and women's basketball events at the Gold Coast CWG 2018:-
- Preliminaries [both men and women]:- 5 to 9 April
- Qualifying Finals [both men and women]:- 10 April
- Men's Semifinals:- 14 April
- Women's Semifinals:- 13 April
- Men's Gold and Bronze Medal Playoffs:- 15 April
- Women's Gold and Bronze Medal Playoffs:- 14 April
Chances for Indian men's team:-
Ranked 62nd in the world, the Indian men's team has improved a lot from their previous outing at Melbourne 2006, where they failed to win a single match. Courtesy an improvised exposure to major world leagues such as NBA, tournaments such as FIBA Asia Championship etc. the Indian team has made a significant jump in their performance, which showed at the 2015 Asian Championship, where the Indian team shocked everyone by storming into the quarterfinals.
However, the road to the semifinals in the Commonwealth Games is easier said than done, for India has to face higher ranked teams such as England and Cameroon. If India manages to defeat even one of the two mentioned teams, along with minnows like Scotland, it still has to face stalwarts like Australia, who're the current Asian champions and ranked 11th in the world, or Canada, who are ranked 23rd. One would hope for the best as the Indian boys take to the court on the 5th of April against the likes of Cameroon.
But with the inclusion of star player Satnam Singh Bhamra, who has the invaluable experience of the NBA league up his sleeve, it doesn't look a tough road for India either.
A golden opportunity for Indian women's team:-
Compared to the men's team, the women's team is better placed, as well as better prepared. Led by veteran stalwart Shireen Limaye, and ranked 45th in the world, the women's team have a better opportunity at the podium compared to the men's team, having relatively weaker opponents in their groups, such as Malaysia and New Zealand, with only Jamaica ranked higher than them. As such, it wouldn't be a tough task for the women's team to enter the semifinals.
The real test comes in the semifinals, as the Indian women's team will have to face either the ex-world champions Australia, who are currently ranked an impressive 4th in the FIBA world rankings or Canada, who are ranked 6th in the same list. If India manages to surprise them on their road to a podium finish, it shall be nothing less than a remarkable achievement, which shall also cement their places as the emerging Asian powerhouse in basketball.
Whether they succeed or not is something only future can tell, as they aim to make their mark in their first match against Jamaica on the 5th of April.
Following is a list of both the Indian basketball teams for the upcoming Gold Coast Commonwealth Games 2018:-
Indian men's team:-
Yadwinder Singh [Captain], Ravi Bharadwaj, Arvind Arumugam, Satnam Singh Bhamra, Arshpreet Bhullar, J. Justin, A. Aravind, Akilan Pari, P. Jeevanantham, Joginder Singh, Amritpal Singh, Amjyot Singh.
Indian women's team:-
Shireen Limaye [Captain], Jeena Scaria, Raspreet Sindhu, Grima Merlin, Barkha Sonkar, Shruti Menon, H.M. Bhandavya, P.G. Anjana, P.U. Navaneetha, R. Raja Priyadarshini, Anmolpreet Kaur, Madhu Kumari.