Kidambi Srikanth, PV Sindhu rested for Thomas, Uber Cup badminton
Kidambi Srikanth, PV Sindhu and doubles specialist Ashwini Ponnappa will sit out the Thomas and Uber Cup with India deciding to field a depleted squad for the global biennial team championships to be held simultaneously in Bangkok from May 20 to 27.
In their absence, newly crowned Commonwealth Games champion Saina Nehwal and world No 8 HS Prannoy will lead India’s charge.
Srikanth and Sindhu have been given a break in the busy calendar, also bearing in mind the ankle sprain the Olympic silver medallist suffered before Gold Coast, which led to her missing the mixed team event at CWG.
Others missing from the squad are doubles pairs Satwiksairaj Rankireddy/Chirag Shetty, who won the men’s doubles silver at the CWG, and N Sikki Reddy, who partnered Ashwini to claim bronze there in women’s doubles.
“We have decided to give opportunity to young and aspiring talent along with our experienced players so that they not only gain valuable exposure, they will also have the experience to play alongside the top players,” Badminton Association of India (BAI) president, Himanta Biswa Sarma, said.
“While selecting the squad, we have considered the performance of the players at domestic level. Those who have excelled in the national circuit have been given the opportunity to show their talent at the highest level.”
In Thomas Cup, the men’s team event, India will face France in the opening rubber, followed by Australia and China. In Uber Cup, India will face Canada on May 20 followed by Australia and Japan. The top two teams from each group will qualify for the quarterfinals.
India women, thanks to brilliant performances by Saina, Sindhu, Ashwini and Jwala Gutta, clinched bronze in the last two editions of Uber Cup, in 2014 New Delhi and 2016 Kunshan, China.
Singles: HS Prannoy, B Sai Praneeth, Sameer Verma, Lakshay Sen.
Doubles: B Sumeeth Reddy/Manu Attri, Shlok Ramachandran/ MR Arjun, Sanyam Shukla/Arun George.
Singles: Saina Nehwal, Vaishnavi Jakka Reddy, Sai Krishna Priya, Anura Prabhu, Vaishnavi Bhale.
Doubles: J Meghana/Poorvisha Ram, Prajakta Sawant/Sanyogita Ghorpade.