Mumbai: Former international Uday Pawar was urprised by shuttle queen Saina Nehwal's criticism of Taufik Hidayat's views over the Indian Badminton League auction process and said the retired Indonesian great's perspective needed to be respected, even if she had reservations.
"Taufik Hidayat is a great player and has been a world and Olympic champion to boot. His views need to be respected, even if you don't agree to them," Pawar told PTI here today.
The retired Indonesian shuttler, who was bought by Saina's franchise team Hyderabad Hotshots for a paltry USD 15,000, was hurt that some of the top foreign players are being paid much less than lower-ranked Indian counterparts.
Hidayat's less experienced Hotshots teammates – Pradnya Gadre (USD 46,000, base price - USD 10,000), Tarun Kona (USD 28,000, base price - USD 15,000) and Ajay Jayaram (USD 25,000,
same base price) -- were sold for higher amounts.
"I felt bad when for the first time I saw on TV how much a player was bought for. I felt the IBL didn't treat the foreign players in the right manner. The price slab that was set was nonsense. Most of the foreign players were sold for their base price while the Indian players were bought for much higher prices," Hidayat told reporters here on Sunday.
"I felt the IBL organisers did not take world rankings into consideration. This is my first and last IBL," said the 2004 Athens Olympics gold medal winner and world men's singles champion in 2005.
Asked about the two-time Asian Games singles champion's views the next evening, London Olympic bronze medallist Saina said that the Indonesian should not expect too much since he
has already retired from the international circuit.
"I think world number one (Lee Chong Wei) got the highest price (of USD 1,35,000). I don't think there is anything unfair about it. He (Hidayat) should accept it that he has retired now so you can't get the highest base price of course. Its a negative thing to speak like this," said the world no.4 women's player.
Pawar also did not agree to Saina's suggestion that the IBL was largely there to benefit Indian players, saying that Indian corporates would not have agreed to spend crores of rupees in supporting the League but for the presence of the world's top foreign shuttlers. "Its a very good initiative by BAI, but corporates will not support an event if the top ranked foreign players are not part of the League," said the former doubles expert in response to Saina's comments at the same press conference.
"There are many Indians who are playing in it and of course the tournament is for Indians to come up. It is not like that we are doing anything wrong with the foreigners. What they are getting (money in IBL), I am sure they are all quite happy, because they don't even get it by winning the Super Series title or anything. I don't see this complaint coming from anyone else," Saina said.
"Of course, he (Hidayat) is a great player, he has achieved so much. But right now I don't think he should expect to get more than what he is getting. You see (Malaysian) Lee Chong Wei is getting the highest money (USD 135,000). It's a fair thing," she added.