Sports reporter Ravi Khandekar takes a look at which Indian NBA teams have the potential to compete for a title.
A few months back, it looked like Indian basketball was in for a bit of a lull, as the league saw its biggest ever summer slump.
But the league’s first season under new head coach T.J. Warren has been a boon for the league and the country.
India has seen a spike in interest in basketball, with NBA teams being invited to the World Cup in 2018 and 2019.
There has also been some positive buzz in the sports community, with the Indian National Basketball Association (INBA) adding a third team in 2020.
So it should come as no surprise that Indian basketball has enjoyed some strong summer results, with Indian teams having qualified for the NBA Playoffs last season, and a win over France at the FIBA World Cup.
However, India’s summer results have been marred by several major issues.
A lack of infrastructure in the country, the absence of players and coaches, the lack of facilities and coaches at various levels of the game, and the absence from tournaments and games at all, have seen the game’s popularity plummet, leading to the resignation of some of the league to help bring in more players and more coaches.
It has also meant that some of India’s best basketball players are now unavailable for the national team, meaning the likes of Ajay Singh, Rishabh Pant, Ramvilasan Das and Bhuvneshwar Kumar have been forced to leave the country for other leagues.
The Indian Basketball Association is looking to address these issues through an ambitious programme that will see the country’s top professional basketball players play international tournaments across the globe.
While India’s domestic leagues have struggled to get international players, its international league teams are trying to lure top players from overseas.
For the last five years, India has been the sole host to the FIH Basketball World Cup, and is set to host another edition in 2019.
With the upcoming 2019-2020 World Cup being held in India, it is expected that the Indian Basketball Federation will add two additional teams to the tournament, bringing the number of teams to 16.
Meanwhile, a number of Indian basketball players have been involved in international tournaments, including Shriram Srivastava and Rajeev Yadav, who are both currently on the India’s international team.
In the past, Indian players have struggled at the international level, having failed to qualify for the FIHS Basketball World Championship.
Despite the absence, it was noted that the players’ performance has improved this summer, with players such as Srivashankar and Yadav showing some of their best form.
“They were doing really well this summer and they are playing really well,” India’s India head coach Anil Kumble told ESPNcricinfo.
Indian basketball is set for an exciting 2018-19 season, as it is set by Warren, who has been in charge of the national side for the past three seasons.