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Interview: I am focusing on staying injury-free, says HS Prannoy ahead of Premier Badminton League

The Indian shuttler is a part of the Mumbai Rockets in the Premier Badminton League.

HS Prannoy
Prannoy will be part of the Mumbai Rockets side in the Premier Badminton League

2015 was a bit of a mixed bag for Indian men’s singles shuttler HS Prannoy.

The Kerala lad was in supreme form in the first four months of 2015 before a toe injury scuppered his aspirations to go up the ladder. Prannoy staged a comeback from his injury but hasn’t quite touched the form of early 2015.

The ace, who is playing for Mumbai Rockets in the Premier Badminton League, talks about the much-hyped league and much more in an exclusive interview.  

Excerpts:

How does it feel representing Mumbai Rockets in the Premier Badminton League?

It’s been pretty good so far. I’m really excited about turning out for Mumbai Rockets. The league is being held after a gap of three years, which only enhances the excitement element. I have been training hard and hope to put my best foot forward in the Premier Badminton League.

Who do you think are the favourites to win the Premier Badminton League?

All teams are solid but on paper I feel Delhi Aces and Bangalore Top Guns are quite formidable. Delhi has the likes of Tommy Sugiarto and Rajiv Ouseph besides India’s Ajay Jayaram. Bangalore Top Guns has K Srikanth, B Sumedh Reddy among others. Both these teams are strong contenders although it does not mean that the other four teams are weak – all teams are capably of springing surprises.

How do you think our junior shuttlers can benefit from the Premier Badminton League?

Surely our junior shuttlers will richly benefit from their participation in the Premier Badminton League. It is quite different watching your heroes in the Stadium from watching them on the television. It’s a great opportunity to obtain vital exposure of playing the world’s top players in the Premier Badminton League.

The Indian Badminton League (IBL) did not take place after its inaugural year in 2013 – all badminton fans will hope that the Premier Badminton League is held annually and do not go off the radar after one edition like the IBL.

I’m sure the Premier Badminton League will be a massive lift for Indian badminton. It is just what the doctor ordered for the sport in the country - I’m quite confident that the Premier Badminton League will be held consistently every year and become a big brand in the years to come.

Do you feel that the Premier Badminton League has managed to get the cream of world badminton?

I guess so. We have a lot of world-class singles and doubles players. Of course, quite a few top guys are giving the Premier Badminton League a miss because they want to avoid getting injury ahead of the Olympic qualifying process.

Looking at your singles play in 2015, you started with a world ranking of 21 and you are ended the year at 20. How would you assess your 2015?

Well, I had a decent first four months of the year and reached a ranking of 12 in April. Then my toe injury after my Singapore Super Series put me out of competitive action till August and I struggled to find my groove coming back from injury.

How challenging it is to make a comeback after injury?

It is never easy to make a comeback from injury. I experienced it as I was unable to recapture the good form of the first four months of 2015. It’s difficult to hit the groove when you come back from an injury-induced lay-off.

Do you have any set goals for 2016?

To be honest, I don’t want to set any goals for 2016. All I want is to remain injury-free and if I manage to achieve that, a lot of things will be taken care.

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