Indian ace shuttler H S Prannoy is not happy with the Badminton World Federation’s (BWF) proposal to tweak the scoring system and reduce on-court coaching, saying such changes will not achieve the aim of increasing commercial value of the sport.
The BWF Council has proposed that on-court coaching, which is allowed at the 11-point lemon break and at the end of every game in a match, be reduced. The proposal also suggests “reduce time being taken between points” and “reduce warm-up time” and “racket testing” — all aimed at increasing the commercial value of the sport and enhance the quality of its broadcast product.
The plan will require endorsement at the BWF’s Annual General Meeting in Bangkok in May to be implemented in international badminton.
World No. 11 Prannoy said: “Badminton is an extremely fast sport and if you don’t have enough break, you have hardly time to breath, you can’t swipe sweat, you can’t go out or have water, I mean all the rules are against the players.
“There are days when things don’t fall into place, so you need your coach on those days by your side because they know you best,” he said.
The world body’s panel has also called for a best-of-five format instead of the current three-game structure. It has also been suggested that games be of 11 points each instead of the current 21-point format.
Prannoy felt the proposed changes could give an advantage to players who are unfit.
“I’m not really supportive of this format, because I don’t find 21 point to be boring. Probably, it would be an advantage for them who are not physically fit. I think in coming years we will find many players who were not been in the top 30 suddenly be in the top 30. I’m not really happy with the rule change,” he said.
The BWF Council’s reason of proposing the changes is to optimise the presentation of badminton at the highest level, increase the commercial value of the sport and enhance the quality of its broadcast product.
“I don’t understand how tennis is spectator friendly when match goes on for five hours, where everything is slow. Whereas a badminton match is hardly 90 minutes and even then if people are not able to push through then I would say it is because the sport is not popular and it is not about the format or game,” Prannoy said.
“If TV can telecast a five hour tennis match why can’t they show one quarterfinal day (in badminton) where the entire proceedings would be five hours. So I don’t think changing format, whether you make it 11-point or 15-point, would make any difference.”
Prannoy has been missing in action this season after he developed warts on his feet. He went for a treatment on February 1 and recently started training again to compete at the All England Championship to be held from March 14 to 18.
“I removed them (warts) through a procedure on Feb 1. I went home and had some time off. I started training two weeks back and started playing this week. The All England Championships looks a little dicey for me as you need to be 100 per cent fit. All the top players are playing, the draw looks tough and so are the conditions. So no plans, I hardly have two more weeks to go for All England, so I am just look to go there and enjoy.
“I am really looking to play well at the CWG. I will have three weeks after the All England and I should be 100 per cent fit for CWG. On the positive side, I will be fresh and All England would be a good match practice. I am really hungry to play games,” said the 25-year-old.
Prannoy also credited coach Pullela Gopichand and Kidambi Srikanth for setting the bar high for him and others.
“The bar that Srikanth has set after he won four Super Series Tour titles last year has really changed the mindset of the players. That has brought a good difference in our training sessions,” he said.
He also praised Sameer Verma and P Kashyap for battling injuries and coming back with a win at Swiss Open and Austrain Open.
“I have learnt from Sameer the power of positivity. He is never negative despite suffering so many inuries. Same goes for Kashyap, who is one of the most experienced in the team,” said Prannoy, who himself has been troubled by a string of injuries in the past.