Alor Setar, February 6: With HS Prannoy injured and Saina Nehwal pulling out, India will have a tough task at hand when Kidambi Srikanth and PV Sindhu lead the men's and women's teams respectively at the Asia Team Badminton Championship starting on Tuesday (February 6).
The Asia Team Championship will also act as a qualifier for the Thomas and Uber Cup tournaments to be held in Bangkok from May 20 to 27 with the teams finishing at the semifinals qualifying for the prestigious tournament.
Indian men's team, which has been clubbed with Maldives and formidable Indonesia in Group D, will open its campaign in the tournament with a clash against Philippines on Tuesday.
The onus would be on Srikanth, B Sai Praneeth and Sameer Verma to win the three singles in the absence of Prannoy, who is recovering after developing corns in his feet.
The women's team will be without the services of Saina Nehwal, who decided to skip the event to prepare for the All England Championship to be held from March 14 to 18, and in her absence the onus would be on Sindhu and young Krishna Priya and Ruthvika Gadde to shoulder the responsibility of singles events.
It will be an uphill task as the women's team have been clubbed with heavyweight Japan and Hong Kong in Group W.
Sindhu, who finished runner-up at the India Open, has reached Malaysia and it would be interesting to see if she can recover well when India take on Hong Kong on Tuesday.
The Hong Kong team has in it Cheung Ngan Yi, who beat Olympic champion Carolina Marin in the quarter-finals in India Open last week. World No 30 Yip Pui Yin will also be in their ranks.
On the other hand, Srikanth and Co will have their task cut out against Indonesia, who have some formidable singles player in Jonatan Christie and Anthony Sinisuka Ginting, who had fought at the finals of Korea Open Superseries last year.
Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty, who reached the semifinals at Indonesia Masters, and national champions Manu Attri and Sumeeth Reddy will shoulder the men's doubles responsibility.
In the women's team, Ashwini Ponappa and Sikki Reddy and Prajakta Sawant and Sanyogita will look to get the wins in doubles.