Thomas & Uber Cup 2020: Saina and Srikanth to spearhead Indian challenge - Schedule, when and where to watch, live stream details
Saina Nehwal and Kidambi Srikanth will take charge as Indian badminton players head out for the biennial team championships and hope to be on the right foot.
Badminton season has started in a full-fledged fashion with Indian badminton stars hustling from one tournament to the other. With the Tokyo Olympics storm now settled down, the BWF season restarted itself with the Mixed Team Championships - the Sudirman Cup, that was held in Vantaa, Finland. After a dismal showing by the Indian shuttlers at the biennial tournament, a contingent led by veterans Saina Nehwal and Kidambi Srikanth will look to shine at the 2020 Thomas & Uber Cup Finals at Aarhus, Denmark. Set to begin from 9th October and continue till the 17th, the blue-riband tournament will see the best of teams of the world fight it out with each other for the top honours.
In both the Thomas and Uber Cup, a total of 16 teams will take part in each of the men's team and women's team championships. Divided into groups of 4, both the Thomas and the Uber Cup will see ties played out in a best of five fashion - there will be 3 singles matches and 2 doubles matches in the mix, for every tie.
While Indonesia has won the Thomas Cup a whopping 13 times, China, Japan, Denmark and Malaysia are equally powerful. Notably, China has won 6 out of the last 8 editions of the Thomas Cup are also the defending champions. At the Uber Cup, China wholly dominates with 14 titles collected over 27 editions of the biennial tournament and will be a strong threat alongside nations like Japan, Thailand and Denmark.
Indian badminton players will look to bounce back after a sketchy outing at the Sudirman Cup where neither PV Sindhu nor Saina Nehwal was present. Sindhu, the 2-time Olympic medallist, will not be playing in this event either but Saina Nehwal will make a return to the court after 196 days and hope to get back to her winning ways. Meanwhile, Kidambi Srikanth and Sai Praneeth alongside Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty will have a lot of pressure to deliver as well.
Thomas Cup - All eyes on Kidambi Srikanth and Satwik-Chirag
India has been placed in Group C of the Thomas Cup along with defending champions China, minnows Netherlands and Tahiti. The major strain of concern is definitely China here - especially as they will be coming to the tournament on the back of a rousing win at the Sudirman Cup against Japan. However, China's team is young as well and they are without their trusted Olympic medallist Chen Long and Tokyo 2020 silver medallist men's doubles pair of Li Jun Hui and Liu Yu Chen. But that is not to say that they are not formidable as Shi Yuqi will lead the charge and he recently defeated World No. 1 Kento Momota at the Sudirman Cup. Moreover, India's brush with China at the Sudirman Cup was also a blink-and-you-miss effort as the Indians did not manage to win a single match in the tie.
Against Netherlands and Tahiti, India shouldn't have to stress so much and can come on top of the clashes with relative comfort. Young sensation Mark Caljouw can pose to be a threat from the Netherlands as he dismissed Sai Praneeth in the group stage clash against All guns must be prepared to tame China however and find chinks in their armour. For former World No. 1 Kidambi Srikanth and Tokyo-returned Sai Praneeth, it will be an occasion to show their experience while World No. 10 dynamic doubles duo of Satwik-Chirag will look to rustle up a storm on the court.
India's squad for Thomas Cup: B. Sai Praneeth, Kidambi Srikanth, Kiran George, Sameer Verma, Satwiksairaj Rankireddy, Chirag Shetty, Dhruv Kapila, M.R. Arjun, G. Krishna Prasad, and Vishnu Vardhan
Uber Cup - Saina Nehwal aspires for a comeback
Failing to make the cut for the Tokyo Olympics, former World No. 1 and 2012 London Olympics bronze medallist Saina Nehwal will be eager to get back to her winning ways as she returns to the court at Aarhus. With PV Sindhu missing on their side, things might be a little difficult for the Indians but Malvika Bansod, Aditi Bhatt and veterans Ashwini and N. Sikki Reddy will be there to steer the ship as well.
India has been placed in Group B alongside Thailand, Scotland and Spain. Of course, Thailand remains the most formidable as they have been runners-up in the 2018 edition and has a heady mix of veteran and talented players like 2013 World Champion Ratchanok Intanon, Pornpawee Chochuwong and doubles pair like Jongkolphan Kititharakul and Rawinda Prajongja. There is Scotland's Kirsty Gilmour as well who can pose a threat but Spain without Carolina Marin isn't likely to do much damage for the Indian women.
India's squad for Uber Cup: Saina Nehwal, Malvika Bansod, Aditi Bhatt, Tasnim Mir, Tanisha Crasto, Rutaparna Panda, Ashwini Ponnappa, N. Sikki Reddy, P. Gayatri, Treesa Jolly
When to watch Thomas & Uber Cup Finals?
Thomas Cup - Group Stages
Sunday, October 10 - India vs Netherlands - 10:30 PM IST onwards
Tuesday, October 12 - India vs Tahiti - 10:30 PM IST onwards
Thursday, October 14 - India vs China – 12:00 PM IST onwards
Uber Cup - Group Stages
Sunday, October 10 - India vs Spain – 12:00 PM IST onwards
Tuesday, October 12 - India vs Scotland - 12:00 PM IST onwards
Wednesday, October 13 - India vs Thailand – 12:00 PM IST onwards
Where to watch Thomas & Uber Cup Finals?
The Thomas & Uber Cup Finals will be shown on Star Sports 3 and it's HD parallel.
Where to live stream Thomas & Uber Cup Finals?
The Thomas & Uber Cup Finals can be live streamed on Disney+ Hotstar.