July 3, 2015

India hosts 4th South Asian Basketball Championship in Bengaluru from Friday: Participants, Roster, & Schedule

Over the last few months, there has been a lot of talk about why basketball is not working in India and how one singular Indian is making basketball work for himself, abroad. Finally, it's time for the talk to end, and for India to start playing some meaningful basketball again.

India's Senior Men's national team will get a chance to bury recent distractions played by the Basketball Federation of India (BFI) in the past and refocus their attention on the sport this week. From Friday, July 3 to Sunday, July 5, India will host the 4th South Asian Basketball Association (SABA) Championship at the Sri Kanteevara Basketball Courts in Bengaluru. The tournament will pit six top teams from the South Asia Zone against each other and the winner will qualify for the 2015 FIBA Asia Championship, set to be held in Hunan, China, from September 23 to October 3.

The three-day tournament will be played in a round-robin format. India's Senior Men have been in camp in preparation for the tournament in Bengaluru for the past few weeks. After the Ministry of Sports had decided to disallow the BFI to hold any basketball events in India until they dealt with the federation's internal power struggle, the Karnataka High Court granted interim relief to the BFI just in time to let the games be played. GLR Prasad will be the team's head coach, taking over after the American Scott Flemming left a few months ago.

Participating Teams: Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Sri Lanka

Team India Roster
  • Joginder Singh
  • Narender Grewal
  • Akilan Pari
  • Vikash Kumar
  • Pratham Singh
  • Arvind A.
  • Vinay Kaushik
  • Akashdeep Hazra
  • Gurvinder Singh Gill
  • A. Aravind
  • Prasanna Venkatesh
  • Rikin Pethani - (captain)
  • Coach: GLR Prasad
  • Manager: Goutan Ganguly
India, who are usually the favourites against the South Asian opponents, will be fielding a relatively weaker and younger roster than usual. Satnam Singh Bhamara is busy after getting drafted to the NBA. Amjyot Singh and Amrit Pal Singh have taken their talents to the BJ Summer League in Japan. Vishesh Bhriguvanshi and Yadwinder Singh are both injured.

In their place, the remaining veterans in the squad: Rikin Pethani, Pratham Singh, Narender Grewal, and Joginder Singh will be counted upon to fly the Indian flag and help see the team through to the FIBA Asia Championship later this year. Pethani has been named captain but the leadership duties will likely be shared by all four named above. Look for the likes of Gurvinder Singh 'Gary' Gill to step up and make a case for himself for a more constant role in the national side. If India are able to qualify, it is likely that the team that flies to China looks starkly different from this one, especially if our best players Amjyot, Amrit Pal, and Vishesh are able to make a comeback.

India's Schedule
  • July 3 - 9:30 AM - Nepal vs. India.
  • July 3 - 5 PM - India vs. Bangladesh.
  • July 4 - 11 AM - Bhutan vs. India.
  • July 5 - 9:30 AM - India vs. Maldives.
  • July 5 - TBC - Sri Lanka vs. India.

With our national team a little weakened, our opponents will probably be spelling blood, and these tournament should be closer than the past South Asian championships usually have been (except for our battles against Afghanistan). The organizers have smartly scheduled India vs. Sri Lanka as the last game of the tournament; there is no 'final' in the round-robin style, but these two teams are the early-tournament favourites, and unless there is a major upset, this game will likely be the decider of which team goes to Hunan in September.

If you are in or around Bengaluru, try your best to make it to the stadium and cheer for India!


  1. Is there any chance that Scott Fleming be appointed as the head coach again?
    He knows the team well.

    1. Seems unlikely. He has a new coaching job in the USA now.

    2. thanks for schedule.The guys in the Basketball Association have not bothered to put up this tournament in the print media or why in their website also; that such a tournament occurred is only known after the match when the same is published.Why even the venue is not mentioned in the "The Hindu".I presume its kanteerava stadium. Guys like u are really doing a service.

    3. Thanks a lot. Yes, it's terribly difficult to get any basketball info from mainstream sources, including the BFI, unless one is following several different sources for news.

  2. Btw karan when is the bfi website going online?? Seems like a good time to bring it to life now that we have an indian in the best league in the world. What say you??