Sudirman, Thomas, Uber Cups: India name squads, PV Sindhu rested

Saina Nehwal will lead India in the Uber Cup while Srikanth and Sai Praneeth will be part of the Thomas Cup team.

By Utathya Nag
Picture by 2021 Getty Images

The Badminton Association of India (BAI), on Sunday, announced the Indian squads for the upcoming Thomas and Uber Cup Finals as well as the Sudirman Cup.

Two-time Olympic medallist PV Sindhu won’t be featuring in either the Sudirman Cup or the Uber Cup after she requested to be left out citing recovery post the Tokyo Olympics, where she won bronze. The Thomas Cup is a men’s only tournament.

In PV Sindhu’s absence, London 2012 bronze medallist Saina Nehwal, will be spearheading the Indian badminton team at the Uber Cup. B Sai Praneeth and Kidambi Srikanth, meanwhile, will be India’s star players in both the Thomas and Sudirman Cups.

The Uber Cup is the women’s team world championships event and will be played from October 9 to October 17 in Denmark alongside the Thomas Cup, which is the men’s equivalent of the Uber Cup.

In the Uber Cup, Saina Nehwal will be accompanied by the top three singles ranks from the selection trials - Malvika Bansod, Aditi Bhatt and Tasnim Mir.

The 10-member team also includes three doubles pairs, including Tanisha Crasto and Rutuparna Panda, who claimed the top spot in the women’s doubles trials.

Gayatri Gopichand, daughter of Indian badminton legend Pullela Gopichand, and her partner Tressa Jolly, who came third in the trials have also made the team.

India’s 10-member Thomas Cup squad comprises four singles players and three doubles pairs. 

Alongside B Sai Praneeth and the former world No. 1 Kidambi Srikanth, the top two players from the trials - Kiran George and Sameer - earned their places in the Thomas Cup team.

The country’s top men’s doubles pair, Chirag Shetty and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy, has also been selected alongside the top two pairs from the trials.

India have been placed alongside China, the Netherlands and Tahiti in Group C for the Thomas Cup while India’s Uber Cup Group B opponents will be Thailand, Spain and Scotland.

B Sai Praneeth and Kidambi Srikanth will also lead the 12-member Sudirman Cup squad.

The Sudirman Cup is a mixed-team badminton tournament and this year’s edition will be played in Vantaa, Finland, from September 26 to October 3. India have been drawn in Group A with defending champions China, Thailand and hosts Finland in the Sudirman Cup.

The teams for all three tournaments were selected on the basis of their performances in the selection trials held earlier this week apart from the automatic selections of the players/ doubles pairs, who are placed inside the top 20 in the world rankings.

All three tournaments were cancelled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Indian squad for Uber Cup: Saina Nehwal, Malvika Bansod, Aditi Bhatt, Tasnim Mir, Tanisha Crasto, Rutuparna Panda, Ashwini Ponnappa, N Sikki Reddy, Gayatri Gopichand, Treesa Jolly

Indian squad for Thomas Cup: B Sai Praneeth, Kidambi Srikanth, Kiran George, Sameer Verma, Satwiksairaj Rankireddy, Chirag Shetty, Dhruv Kapila, MR Arjun, Krishna Prasad Garaga, Vishnu Vardhan

Indian squad for Sudirman Cup: Men - B Sai Praneeth, Kidambi Srikanth, Satwiksairaj Rankireddy, Chirag Shetty, Dhruv Kapila, MR Arjun; Women - Malvika Bansod, Aditi Bhatt, Tanisha Crasto, Rutuparna Panda, Ashwini Ponnappa, N Sikki Reddy