Need to learn how to stay calm in pressure situations from MS Dhoni: Kidambi Srikanth
The star shuttler also said that rankings were not a priority for him, instead, he wants to focus on staying fit and winning medals.
MS Dhoni's tact and calm persona, especially in high-pressure situations, has served an inspiration for many, both on the field of cricket and off it. The latest addition to that list is India's top male shuttler Kidambi Srikanth.
"MS Dhoni is such a great inspiration for many players across sports. The way he keeps himself calm during pressure situations is something that I like the most about him. Badminton is such a sport where little, little mistakes make you lose matches.
"It's important to stay focused at all times and I think, this is something I need to learn from him," the 25-year-old told Sportskeeda on the sidelines of a felicitation ceremony of the Commonwealth Games medal winning shuttlers by the Badminton Association of India.
Srikanth has been in tight situations several times in his career. He has often been criticised for dropping points early on in his game which puts him in these situations. "This is something I have tried to change but unfortunately, haven't been able to. I'm still trying and hopefully, it will change," he said.
'Priority is Asian Games, World Championships'
Winning a gold and a silver medal at the Commonwealth Games might have been the highest point for Srikanth this year until now but the star shuttler does not want to rest on the success in Gold Coast for long. Instead, he has already turned his focus to bringing home more laurels from the Asian Games and the World Championships.
On being asked about the performance in Gold Coast and the immediate future targets, Srikanth said, "Going into the Commonwealth Games, I was not really training at my best. I have just come back from an injury... no one, including me, expected that I will actually play well. I think everything fell into place, we were supporting each other so much that I never felt that I was along there. It was a great team effort and without the others, it would not have been possible."
"My priorities now are the Asian Games and the World Championships. Badminton is a sport where Asian's are predominating when you compare with the Europeans shuttlers and the others. So, definitely, it will be very competitive at the Asian Games. I can't really guarantee that I'll win a medal but I'll definitely do my best," he added.
However, Srikanth might skip a few Super 1000 tournaments to keep himself fit. "Injuries are a major concern for me as well as the others. I was injured last year and in the early part of this year so, I'm focusing more on my health and fitness. It will be tough for me to play all of them (Super 1000 tournaments)," he said.
The Guntur-born shuttler recently climbed to the top of the world rankings, thus becoming the first Indian male shuttler to achieve this feat ever since the rankings were introduced.
When asked how special the moment was, Srikanth replied, "I knew the World No. 1 rank was coming from before but obviously, seeing my name officially there, on the top, was a special feeling. But rankings are not the most important thing. Of course, I want to maintain it but the priority lies in winning medals at tournaments."