What can a Squash League offer for the sport?
Ever since the inception of the Indian Premier League(IPL) in 2008, the concept of a franchise-based competition has caught the attention of everybody with almost every sport having its own League.
The success of the other leagues may not be comparable to the IPL, but the ulterior objective, which is to provide the lesser-known names an opportunity to showcase themselves in front of the world has been achieved in almost all of them.
Joining the bandwagon soon will be yet another sport- Squash. The sport has seen a rise in popularity in recent times due to the good performances of Indian players on the global stage and with an emerging crop of youngsters in India, it only makes even more sense to start a League for the sport in the country.
One of the things that has been synonymous with all the Leagues in other sports is the benefits that Indian players have gained from being part of the same team as some of the overseas professionals. For instance in the IPL, a Manish Pandey would have certainly learnt a great deal by sharing the dressing room with someone like a Jacques Kallis etc. Just like that, for a youngster like Velavan Senthilkumar, it could prove to be an invaluable experience if he spends time with someone like a Marwan ElShorbagy and learn some of the finer elements of the game.
Apart from the on-field advantages from the League, the sport, in general, has the potential to show to the world about what India can offer in terms of facilities.
The Squash Rackets Federation of India(SRFI) have decided to expand the range of cities, with newer venues coming up in places like Ooty, Ahmedabad, Raipur and Guwahati, along with the existing cities like Chennai, Mumbai, Kolkata which have already played host to several big events in the past.
It provides an opportunity for the SRFI to not just test out the new venues and keep them ready for future events, but it also helps them in spreading the game to some of the other centres that aren't as viable to the sport, thereby increasing the interest levels among the general public and leading to more kids taking it up.
These are certainly exciting times for the sport in India. As mentioned on top, in addition to the exploits of Joshna Chinappa, Saurav Ghosal etc on the senior level, the emergence and further flourishing of juniors like Akanksha Salunkhe, Harshit Kaur Jawanda etc, it is expected that a league will only further strengthen the fan base for squash in the country.