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Thomas and Uber Cup 2018: Saina Nehwal's former coach explains why she is taking part in the tournament while PV Sindhu is not

Sagnik Kundu
FEATURED COLUMNIST
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1.65K   //    14 May 2018, 20:28 IST

2016 Australian Badminton Open
Saina Nehwal

Earlier last week, the Badminton Association of India (BAI) announced the teams for the Thomas and Uber Cup and as was reported by Sportskeeda, there were major surprises in both the men's and women's squad. Kidambi Srikanth and PV Sindhu were the two major absentees in the two squads.

In their absence, HS Prannoy and Saina Nehwal will be leading the charge at the tournament, considered widely as the World Team Championships. According to the BAI, the decision behind this move was to give some much-needed exposure to the youngsters. However, it was learnt that Srikanth and Sindhu, along with the others, were given rest ahead of the World Championships and Asian Games.

Whatever the reason was behind this, the decision was met with a lot of flak on social media. The general feeling was that firstly, the top shuttlers should have been sent for the prestigious tournament. Secondly, if Srikanth and Sindhu were given rest, Saina, also, deserved the same. After all, she has been playing a lot of matches since the Commonwealth Games.

Vimal Kumar, who coached Saina for three years, feels that the 28-year-old is playing the Uber Cup because she needs some points to climb up the World Rankings.

"Saina had given the Asian Team Championships a miss and as she did not play at the qualification tournament, she stands to earn some world ranking points. On the other hand, Sindhu and Srikanth both played and earned points at the qualification tournament, they won't earn points here," Kumar told Sportskeeda.

"So, Saina is playing because she needs the points. She is some way down in the rankings and she needs to climb up. That could be one of the reasons," he added.

Indeed, Saina is currently at No. 10 in the world rankings and doing well at the Uber Cup will mean that she will earn some valuable points. Moreover, she has been enjoying a good run of form of late and a break might hamper her momentum.

The challenge ahead will be tough as the two-time Commonwealth Games gold medallist will have to lead a vastly inexperienced side. Additionally, the team has been pooled alongside five-time winners Japan, Canada and Australia. The tournament kicks off on May 20th and it will be interesting to see how Saina shoulders the responsibility.

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Sagnik Kundu
FEATURED COLUMNIST
I spend every day at office wondering how they got the table through the door.
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