Both the Indian men’s and the women’s teams have their task cut out as they have been drawn with formidable opponents in the same group at the Thomas and Uber Cup 2018 to be held in Bangkok from 20-27 May.
The PV Sindhu-led women’s team has been clubbed together in Group A of the Uber Cup alongside five-time winners Japan, apart from Canada and Australia. In Thomas Cup, the men have been drawn in Group A, which is headed by nine-time champions China. France and Australia complete the set of four in that particular group.
With Japan having superstars Nozomi Okuhara and Akane Yamaguchi in singles and three of their women’s doubles pairs in the top five of the current world rankings, it is going to be an uphill battle for India. Considering Sindhu is going to face either Okuhara or Yamaguchi, a blockbuster waits for every badminton fan.
Japan and India had locked horns in the Badminton Asia Team Championships -- the qualifying event for the Thomas and Uber Cup -- and the result was a 4-1 win in favour of the former.
The Indian men’s team, comprising Kidambi Srikanth and HS Prannoy, too have to work real hard for they will face a team that has the likes of the All England Open champion Shi Yuqi, Olympic champion Chen Long and two-time Olympic gold medallist Lin Dan. India lost to a second-string Chinese squad 1-3 in the quarter-finals of the Badminton Asia Team Championships, even though Srikanth had a big comeback win over Shi Yuqi.
The biennial competition will see 16 teams in each section vying for the eight spots in the quarter-finals. There will be three singles matches and two doubles matches per tie as each team will take on the other countries in its respective group once. The top two finishers from each group will proceed to the last-eight.
The full draw
Group A: China, India, France, Australia
Group B: Indonesia, Korea, Canada, Thailand
Group C: Chinese Taipei, Japan, Germany, Hong Kong
Group D: Denmark, Malaysia, Russia, Algeria
Group A: Japan, India, Canada, Australia
Group B: Thailand, Chinese Taipei, Germany, Hong Kong
Group C: Korea, Denmark, Russia, Mauritius
Group D: China, Indonesia, France, Malaysia