In the last two decades, India's progress in badminton has been noteworthy. From being a mediocre badminton nation in the 20th century, Indian badminton has improved leaps and bounds, with the country now one of the top badminton nations in the world.
The main reason behind India's rise as a badminton nation is not that India produced one or two champion players like Saina Nehwal or PV Sindhu but it is the fact that the infrastructure for the sport, as a whole, improved. As a result of that, young and talented badminton players got the exposure they needed to succeed at the international level. This helped India to produce a big pool of players who could consistently compete at the highest level.
In the last season though, the performance of the Indian contingent has been below par, and they have failed to win any major BWF events after PV Sindhu and Sai Praneeth's World Championship medals in 2019. Players like former World Number 1 Kindambi Srikanth, Sameer Verma and HS Pranoy have recently gone through a very bad run of form. In spite of that, India has as many as 6 men's singles players in the top 30 of the World Ranking, showing how strong the Indian men's singles contingent is.
In this article, we take a look at the top 3 Indian men singles players, as per the latest BWF Rankings.
3 best Indian men singles players as per the latest BWF Rankings
#1 B. Sai Praneeth: BWF World Rank 13
After his 2019 World Championships Bronze Medal-winning performance, Sai Praneeth climbed up the ladder and established himself as the number one Indian Men's Singles player, ahead of his more famous compatriot, Kidambi Srikanth.
Praneeth had a very good 2019 season, which helped him achieve his career-best ranking of 10. He held on to his position in the top 10 till March 2020. However, his average performance in the last tournament, The All England Championship of 2020, has finally pushed him back by three spots to 13th. However, he still continues to be India's number 1 men's singles player.
#2 Kidambi Srikanth: BWF World Rank 14
Former World Number 1 Kidambi Srikanth is arguably the best Indian men's singles player of his generation. He has consistently ranked in the top 10 for the last 4-5 years.
However, the last two years have been very tough for Srikanth. He has not only struggled to win tournaments but has also failed to play according to his potential. This has led to his steady drop in the World Rankings and by the end of 2019, Srikanth was outside the Top 10.
In 2020 as well, Srikanth's search for his lost form continues as he is presently ranked 14th in the world and is the 2nd highest ranked Indian player after Sai Praneeth.
#3 Parupally Kashyap: BWF World Rank 24
Veteran star Parupalli Kashyap is ranked 24th in the world and is presently the 3rd-highest ranked Indian men's singles player.
Parupalli Kashyap had been India's number 1 singles player for a long time before Kidambi Srikanth took over the baton. From 2016 onwards, however, he was plagued by injuries and had to miss many important tournaments.
As a consequence, his ranking fell drastically and he went outside the top 50. With age not on his side, many thought that Kashyap's glorious career was all but over. However, he proved his critics wrong and made a slow and steady comeback.
In the last two seasons, he has slowly improved his ranking with decent performances in big tournaments. By doing so, he has re-established himself as one of the top 3 Indian men's singles players, ahead of his younger compatriots like HS Pranoy, Lakhya Sen and Sameer Verma.Published 19 Sep 2020, 10:45 IST