Yellow jersey, roaring lion. Entities that Chennaiites have come to associate with Chennai Super Kings will now be a part of Chennai Smashers’ identity.
“I’m a big fan of CSK. This, in a way, is a tribute to the IPL franchise. Also, it personifies aggression, a trait we would like to be known for on-court,” said Vijay Prabhakaran, proud owner of the city-based franchise in the Premier Badminton League, as he unveiled the team logo — a roaring lion with a shuttle in the backdrop. He added that the team name was an allusion to the badminton ‘smash’.
The team will feature 10 players — four Indians and six foreigners. The Indians — P.V. Sindhu, Sikki Reddy, Pranaav Chopra and Sri Krishna Priya — sporting the team jersey, were formally introduced.
Unfortunately, Vijay’s attempts to try and persuade BAI to include Chennai as one of the hosting venues didn’t materialise.
“We tried our best to get matches for Chennai. But apparently the Jawaharlal Nehru stadium is being used for stocking flood relief materials. We tried to get Coimbatore approved, but none of the facilities there had seating capacity large enough, which in turn, leads to reservations in broadcasting,” he said.
Smashers will now play their home matches in Lucknow and Hyderabad.
Sindhu was one of the most sought-after player in the auction and, according to Vijay, Smashers’ top priority was to get her on board.
Asked whether it puts extra pressure on her to perform, the 20-year-old said, “I don’t think so. It’s a team event and the focus is on all players in the team. We will try and give our best.”
She said she was disappointed at not playing in Chennai, but added that Hyderabad would make up for it.
“We are disappointed, of course. But I think we will have good crowd support in Hyderabad as well since most of us are from Hyderabad.”
Pranaav said, “We are all from the Gopi Chand Academy. We’ve known each other and practised together for quite some time now. That awareness will make for good team spirit.”