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HS Prannoy relying on 'band of brothers' for Thomas Cup title defence

With all the eyes on the Indian team, the onus lies on this 'band of brothers' to create history by winning the coveted trophy for the second time.

HS Prannoy Badminton

FILE PHOTO: HS Prannoy during his semifinal match at Asian Games (Source: CGTN)


Pritish Raj

Published: 27 April 2024 8:16 AM GMT

Delhi: Star shuttler HS Prannoy believes that the team bonding among the Indian shuttlers in the Thomas Cup squad will be crucial in their title defence in Chengdu. The 2024 Thomas begins today in the Chinese city.

"I think Thomas Cup is something which is very exciting, to be honest, because we will be there as the defending champions," Prannoy told The Bridge earlier this month.

India has sent a full-strength squad to the Chinese city, retaining the title-winning team of Thailand 2022.

The Indian team are a composition of experienced and youthful exuberance. While world no. 1 men's doubles pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty will be spearheading the team being the most successful pair and players on the international circuit, the likes of Lakshya Sen, Kidambi Srikanth, Priyanshu Rajawat, Kiran George, Dhurv Kapila, Arjun MR, and Sai Pratheek will look to keep Indian domination at the men's world team championship intact.

When India defeated Indonesia in the final two years ago to script history at Nonthaburi, Prannoy was India's third-choice singles player. But this year, he will walk into the court as India's mainstay in singles, suggesting the transition he went through in two years.

"I am privileged to have this opportunity. Given that I have the experience of playing in the Thomas Cup, I will back myself for all the matches," remarked Prannoy.

Team bonding is India's strength

The 2022 Thomas Cup triumph kick-started a happy phase for Indian badminton in team events with multiple medals coming from events like the Badminton Asia Mixed Team Championships, the Asian Games and the recent triumph of the women's team at the Badminton Asia Championships.

The team events have acted as a breath of fresh air for the players who usually play alone on the BWF circuit.

Talking about the importance of team events, Prannoy would say, "To go out into a team atmosphere has always been refreshing because we have been playing individual tournaments and you tend to get lonely at times because of the sheer number of tournaments you play."

"So I think it is a kind of big refreshment out there for us to be with the team, and I think we are going with the full squad out there," he added.

There has been a conscious effort to build a healthy team environment that strengthens the team.

"For us, the challenge would be to find new things in every single tournament to make it really interesting during team events, team bonding exercises, and all those things," Prannoy said, talking about how bonding develops in a team.

"We have always tried to create a positive atmosphere. Chirag, Satwik and I have stepped up to do this intentionally. The team feeling doesn't come naturally cause we play an individual sport. We as a team are strongly bonded and enjoy the time we have with each other," he explained.

With all the eyes on the Indian team, unlike last time when they were underdogs, the onus lies on this 'band of brothers' to create history by winning the coveted trophy for the second time.

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