In an unusual year hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, sports suffered a lot. Badminton was one of the hardest-hit sports, with just two BWF tournaments happening since March.
However, Indian men have been doing well on the BWF tour in recent times.
Five top-ranked Indians in the BWF men's singles rankings
There are as many as five Indians in the top 30 of the BWF men's singles rankings. Let's have a look at who they are:
Sai Praneeth (13)
Sai Praneeth is currently the top Indian in the BWF world rankings at number 13, and rightly so after his scintillating show last year. Among the many highs that Sai Praneeth achieved last year, the jewel in his crown was his World Championships men's singles medal - India's first in 36 years.
The world number 13 in the BWF world rankings also reached the Swiss Open final and the semifinals at the Japan Open, besides making a host of quarter-finals on the BWF World Tour. His consistent performances also helped him break into the top 10 in the BWF world rankings.
However, 2020 hasn't been very kind to Sai Praneeth. The former Singapore Open champion didn't win a match in three tournaments and chose to opt out of the Denmark Open, citing lack of match fitness.
Kidambi Srikanth (14)
The former BWF world number one Kidambi Srikanth is currently the second-best player in the country after Sai Praneeth, at No. 14 in the BWF world rankings. However, since his memorable 2017 season, the Guntur-born shuttler has failed to recapture that form and has had a title drought for three years now.
The 27-year-old reached two finals in the intervening period - the 2018 Commonwealth Games and the 2019 India Open. Srikanth began the 2020 season with three opening-round defeats before winning a match at the Spain Masters.
When the tour restarted at the Denmark Open last month, Kidambi Srikanth finally looked to have overcome all his injury issues. Showing the aggression he is known for, the former top-ranked Indian made it to the quarter-finals.
Parupalli Kashyap (24)
Former world number six in the BWF world rankings, Parupalli Kashyap, has made a comeback to the top 25 of the world rankings due to the resurgence he enjoyed in 2019. The World No. 24 made it to the semi-finals of the India Open, which marked the start of his turnaround, after suffering from a series of injuries.
Parupalli Kashyap took that form to the Canada Open, where he finished as the runner-up. Towards the end of the year, the former Commonwealth Games gold medallist also made it to the semi-finals in Korea, although he is yet to win a match in 2020.
Lakshya Sen (27)
After being a top junior, Lakshya Sen truly announced himself on the senior circuit with a breakthrough 2019 season. He won five titles to end the season to truly establish himself as a top competitor.
It all started for the BWF world number 27 at the Belgian International. He then on added further crowns at the Dutch Open crown, SaarLorLux Open, Scottish Open and the Bangladesh International.
The 19-year-old, a former Asian Junior champion, also won a round at the prestigious All England Championships, which catapulted him to the top 30 in the BWF world rankings.
The World No. 27 also bagged a win at the Denmark Open after the season restart before pulling out of the SaarLorLux Open as his father tested positive for COVID-19.
HS Prannoy (28)
HS Prannoy has been a former world number 8 in the BWF world rankings, which he achieved in 2018. But he could not do much of note the next year, due to which his ranking has now dropped to 28.
Apart from making the quarter-finals at the India Open, US Open and New Zealand Open, Prannoy's performances largely left a lot to be desired. This year, he did win a match at the Malaysia Masters, but he ended up losing his next four matches on the trot.Published 05 Nov 2020, 18:10 IST