The Telegraph
Friday , February 22 , 2013
Since 1st March, 1999
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The 44ftx20ft heart of The Saturday Club — the badminton court — will throb with thrills from February 23 to March 2 as corporates get ready to rally hard at The Telegraph Cup Badminton 2013. Around three decades old and growing with five new teams this year, the tourney has 18 teams (two up from last year), divided into four groups, vying for the Main Plate and the Silver Plate.

With all eyes trained on the lovely wooden hotspot of the Wood Street club, expect a cracker of a tourney with last year’s winners Nicco ready to take their game to the next level. “Now there are a lot of new teams with fresh blood. We have to figure out the correct combination. That’s vital! It is not a cup of tea,” Subir Banerjee, captain of Team Nicco for the last eight-nine years, told t2 on the sidelines of the Captains’ Meet at the club on Tuesday evening. A corporate badminton veteran, Banerjee has many fond memories of playing with some of the best in the circuit.

Backed by the management, Team Nicco has gone from strength to strength, emerging victorious last year. “Even our managing director has been playing for the last three years. He is very fond of badminton.... Nicco recruits badminton players. Badminton is an important sport because we have been a part of this tournament since inception,” shared Banerjee, who has six core members and two on the reserve bench.

From training after work to practising harder (two-and-half hours) in the run-up to the tourney, Team Nicco sure takes its badminton seriously. “Starting November-December, the company arranges for early release of the players,” said Banerjee. Their “key” player? Pranab Das, who has played for Bengal in the nationals. “He is guiding the rest,” said Banerjee. The captain’s mantra? “Keep it up!” he smiled.