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India aim for an improved show at Thomas and Uber Cup after Sudirman Cup disappointment

Kidambi Srikanth will spearhead India's challenge in the Thomas Cup
Kidambi Srikanth will spearhead India's challenge in the Thomas Cup
Suhas Nayse
EXPERT

India is aiming for an improved showing at the Thomas and Uber Cup after the recent hammering in the Sudirman Cup. The Indian team is strengthened by the addition of Saina Nehwal, Chirag Shetty and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy. With this, they would like to make a strong statement with a better performance in Aarhus, Denmark.

Due to the absence of Saina, Chirag and Satwik, India failed to match the strong opponents like China and Thailand in Vantaa, Finland a couple of weeks ago. A lack of depth in the Indian team was exposed as they made an inglorious exit from the Sudirman Cup. They lost their opening matches against Thailand (4-1) and China (5-0) making an exit from the tournament.

The morale in the Indian squad will be down after failing to make the quarter-finals of the Sudirman Cup. The onus is now on Saina, Chirag and Satwiksairaj to inspire the side.

The Indian team has been clubbed in Group C alongside China, The Netherlands and Tahiti in the Thomas Cup. The Indian men’s team will launch their campaign against the Netherlands. Only the top two teams from each of the four groups qualify for the quarter-finals.

In the Uber Cup, Indian women’s team has been grouped alongside Thailand, Spain and Scotland in Group B. Indian Eves and will lock horns with Spain in their tournament opener.

Each tie will have three singles and two doubles matches. The 10-member men’s and women’s teams consisted of four singles players and three doubles pairs.

The Thomas Cup will provide yet another chance for B Sai Praneeth to regain his confidence. The ace Indian shuttler has been really struggling with his form since the Tokyo Olympics.

Kidambi Srikanth’s win over Finland in the Sudirman Cup will boost his morale

Kidambi Srikanth carved out a three-game win over Finnish opponent Kalle Koljonen as India beat hosts Finland 4-1 in their third league match to end the campaign on a winning note. The former world No. 1 Srikanth would like to prove a point or two with a solid showing in Denmark.

B Sai Praneeth and Saina Nehwal
B Sai Praneeth and Saina Nehwal

Sameer Verma and Kiran George will be the other two members of the singles.

In the absence of Chirag, Satwik, Dhruv Kapila and MR Arjun did a reasonably good job in the Sudirman Cup. They notched up an excellent win against Thailand but were surprised by the lowly ranked Finnish pair in their last league encounter.

Fast rising doubles pair Krishna Prasad and Vishnu Vardhan Goud will also get a chance to showcase their talent. Chirag missed the Sudirman Cup due to an abdominal muscle pull.

After a gap of eleven years, the Indian men’s team will try their best to reach the knockout stage of the competition. If India manage to beat the Netherlands in their opening outing, then they have a chance to finish in the top two in the group.

India will face a mighty China in their second league encounter, which will be followed by a clash against lower-ranked Tahiti.

Contrary to the Thomas Cup, India did better in the Uber Cup. The women’s team has won bronze twice in the tournament in the 2014 and 2016 editions.

However, finishing on the podium this time around will be quite challenging for the Indian eves.

Barring Saina, the rest of the three women’s singles players – Malvika Bansod, Aditi Bhatt and Tasnim Mir – are quite inexperienced. Double Olympic medallist PV Sindhu, who skipped both the Sudirman Cup and Uber Cup, would have been quite effective in the format.

In the doubles, India has a fairly good combination this time. Ashwini Ponnappa and N. Sikki Reddy are the most senior members of the side.

In the Sudirman Cup, new pair Tanisha Crasto and Rutaparna Panda have shown that they have the potential to do well at the international level. A good win against Finland would have boosted their confidence a great deal ahead of the Thomas and Uber Cup. Gayatri Gopichand and Treesa Jolly are a very good back-up pair in the making.

India will be eager to start their campaign on a winning note against Spain, who will be without the services of 2016 Olympic gold medallist Carolina Marin.

Arun Vishnu and Namrih Suroto of Indonesia have joined the Indian squad as additional coaches

Due to two separate events, the Badminton Association of India (BAI) has decided to add two more coaches to the squad. Arun Vishnu and Namrih Suroto of Indonesia have been flown to Denmark. Former national doubles champion Arun Vishnu has regularly trained Tanisha Crasto, Rutaparna Panda, Gayatri Gopichand and Treesa Jolly. His presence will help the youngsters.

Edited by Aditya Singh
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