when i heard about mbl from uday sane sir ,i was extremely excited.i told him no matter what i am doing i am going to make myself available for the event.mbl is brainchild of uday sane,he went with the idea to to mr.aniruddha
deshpande and he executed the plan.thanks to both of them today we are the first game after cricket to have a league of our own.mbl consists of a sudirman cup format only with a change of 2 men singles instead of a women doubles event.which i think worked out better as we have very few players playing doubles in the state.i think a lot of us had a lot concerns if we could generate sponsors who would be willing to buy teams,but we all were pleasantly surprised when we found out that there were 12 different sponsors who came ahead and out of that 6 were selected.once the owners were selected the next thing was the players auction.sadly i couldnt be there to witness the auction,but i was told that it was nothing short of an ipl auction.the owners fought to get the best players in there teams by bidding the highest they could.the player to get the highest bid was jishnu sanyal with 81 thousand,in the womens i and arundhati pantawane shared the top position with 55 thousand.ofcourse the money was peanuts considered to an ipl auction,but for the first time league it was not a bad start.i mean the thought of me being a commodity purchased for 55 thousand does bring a smile on my face. to say the truth i never thought a league would start in my time of playing,it did and i am grateful for that.
as far as the tournament goes,it was one big party.we had a great opening with dance performances and the marathi heroines coming in as the brand ambassadors for the 6 teams.the best thing was we had packed stadium on most of the days.the public response was really great.i wasnt surprised,as pune has loads of people playing the sport also they are a very educated lot as far as the game is concerned.i represented sensational skylarks.which eventually won the first ever mbl about which i am really proud.playing matches for my team was an amazing experience.right from the camp that we had for a week before the event to seeing them through to the semis.its not everytime time that a badminton player is treated like a star.playing mbl made all of us feel like stars right from the top players to the juniors. an event like an mbl does wonders for the upcoming juniors.varun sarode a member of my team was revelation.he had a great record in the tournament by winning all matches he played accept one.he beat players he had never beaten before. im sure today he has risen in confidence and belief.varun is doing science and plans to continue in that field but mbl has given him a reason to may be try and think of career in badminton and not just give it up for academics.
for me mbl was not about the star players. it was actually about finding the future stars. it was about playing with pride for your teams,about an effort to generate money and glamor. it was not really about how many stars you had in your team. it was about how everyone in the team came together to give in their best.i say this because sensational skylarks won both the semis and the finals without me being there.(i had gone for the sudirman cup)it was an unbelievable effort by the team going in as the underdog and beating teams stronger than them on paper.i love team matches because they truely can bring out the best in you and also because more than anything else its all about playing your heart out.
i thoroughly enjoyed the mbl experience.its a great step forward.the greatest thing about it is “its all about the players”.