Prannoy, Anmol Kharb to lead India's charge at Thomas and Uber Cup Finals in China

New Delhi, April 4 (IANS) Ace shuttler H.S. Prannoy and young Anmol Kharb to spearhead India’s challenge at the BWF Thomas and Uber Cup Finals 2024 as Badminton Association of India (BAI) announced both men’s and women’s teams for the prestigious tournament to be played in Chengdu, China from April 27 to May 5.

The senior selection committee thought a strong squad with a perfect mix of youth and experienced players and have more options in singles considering the hectic schedule of all players this season.

A 10-member team for the Thomas Cup will have five singles players with Kiran George joining H.S. Prannoy, Lakshya Sen, Kidambi Srikanth and Priyanshu Rajawat while Sai Pratheek will be the backup doubles player to the two first-choice combinations, namely World No.1 pair Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty and M.R. Arjun and Dhruv Kapila.

The Indian men’s team had created history two years ago in Thailand when it defeated formidable Indonesia 3-0 in the final to clinch their first-ever Thomas Cup crown.

With most of the top players going through a tough Paris Olympic qualification phase in the run-up to the Thomas Cup 2024, the selectors felt that it was important to have an additional singles player in the squad.

“The final decision on the Thomas Cup squad was taken after an online meeting of the selection committee that comprises chief national coach Pullela Gopichand, former India stars U. Vimal Kumar, Jwala Gutta, Manjusha Kanwar, Partho Ganguly and Mallika Baruah Sarma,” the BAI release read.

“For the Uber Cup, the selectors decided to give an opportunity to youngsters after top players in both singles and doubles pulled out. P.V. Sindhu informed the selectors that due to back-to-back tournaments leading up to the Olympics, she and her team have decided to skip the Uber Cup to prepare for the Olympics,” it added.

Top doubles pairs also cited similar reasons and, since it is not a full-strength team, they also pulled out. The selectors then decided to go ahead with young players who have done well recently at the National Championships.

Speaking about the team combination, BAI general secretary Sanjay Mishra said, “The senior selection committee after a lot of discussion has decided the best possible combination for the Thomas Cup team to defend the title. The committee felt we needed to have one additional player in the singles while in doubles they have picked the top two pairs and Sai Pratheek was selected as an additional doubles player after consultation with Mathias Boe (Danish doubles coach) just in case somebody is not fully fit or needs recovery.”

“With all the experience as top-level players themselves and years of coaching experience, I believe they have picked a very balanced team and I believe these boys can win the title once again.

“The Uber Cup team also looks good with the young talented players. I wish them the best of luck and hope they will make the nation proud with their performances,” he added.

Thomas Cup squad:

(Singles): HS Prannoy, Lakshya Sen, Kidambi Srikanth, Priyanshu Rajawat and Kiran George; (Doubles): Satwiksairaj Rankireddy, Chirag Shetty, MR Arjun, Dhruv Kapila and Sai Pratheek

Uber Cup squad:

(Singles): Anmol Kharb, Tanvi Sharma, Ashmita Chaliha and Isharani Baruah; (Doubles): Shruti Mishra, Priya Konjengbam, Simran Singhi and Ritika Thaker

–IANS

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