Uphill task for Indian shuttlers

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BANGKOK, MAY 20,
A depleted Indian team will face the arduous task of punching above its weight when it competes in the Thomas and Uber Cup Final starting here on Sunday.
With P.V. Sindhu and K. Srikanth being rested, Saina Nehwal and H.S. Prannoy will be the star Indian attractions at the World team badminton championships, where the women’s team won two bronze medals in the last two editions, while the men have failed to make it to the knock-out stage in last eight years.
Besides Prannoy, the men’s has B. Sai Praneeth, Sameer Verma and Lakshay Sen in the singles.
The National champion pair of Manu Attri and B. Sumeeth Reddy and the young combine of M.R. Arjun and Shlok Ramachandran will have to handle the responsibility in doubles.
India has been clubbed with France, Australia and formidable China in Group A of Thomas Cup and Prannoy and Co know it can’t effort any slip-ups when it opens its campaign against France.
“Competition is tough. We have a good young team and we can come back with a medal but first we are focussed on beating France and make it to the knockout stage,” Praneeth said.
Given the fact that Commonwealth Games silver medallists doubles pair of Satwik Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty not in the team, the country’s campaign will largely depend on the three singles matches.
The Indian women, placed alongside Canada, Australia and heavyweights Japan in Group A, would need to bring out their best to finish in top two and make it to the quarterfinals.
Inexperienced
The women’s team is more inexperienced, as apart from Sindhu, Commonwealth Games bronze medallists pair of Ashwini Ponnappa and N. Sikki Reddy too couldn’t make it to the team with the latter being diagnosed with typhoid.
While Saina is expected to pull off her matches, it would be a tall ask for 16-year-old J. Vaishnavi, Sai Krishna Priya and Anura Prabhu Desai and Vaishanavi Bhale to outshine their opponents in the singles, especially against Japan and Canada.

The combination of Prajakta Sawant and Sanyogita Ghorpade and Poorvisha S. Ram and J. Meghana too will have to produce something special to salvage any hopes of a win against their formidable opponents.

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