New Delhi, Sept. 5: The star Indian shuttlers Saina Nehwal and B Sai Praneeth will spearhead women's and men's teams respectively as the Badminton Association of India (BAI) has announced strong squads for the Thomas and Uber Cup Finals, scheduled in Denmark from October 9-17.
BAI has also named a 12-member Indian team for the Sudirman Cup which is slated to take place from September 26 to October 3 in Finland.
For the Thomas and Uber Cup, the London Olympics bronze medallist Nehwal will be accompanied by Top-3 singles ranks from the trials-Malvika Bansod, Aditi Bhatt and Tasnim Mir-in the 10-member women's team alongside three doubles pairs, including Tanisha Crasto and Rutuparna Panda, who claimed the top spot in the trials.
The 10-member men's team also comprised of four singles players and three doubles pairs. Alongside Praneeth and the former World No. 1 Kidambi Srikanth, Top-2 singles players from the trials-Kiran George and Sameer Verma-have received places in the team. The country's top men's doubles pair of Chirag Shetty and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy has been selected in the team alongside Top-2 ranked pairs from the trials.
The players, for the Thomas and Uber Cup and the Sudirman Cup, were selected on the basis of their performances in the recently-concluded trials apart from the automatic selections of the players/pairs, who are placed inside Top-20 in the world rankings. The two-time Olympics medallist PV Sindhu has not been included in the squad as she had requested not to consider herself for the selections citing post Olympics recovery.
"Other than the top-ranked Indians, we have selected players on the basis of their consistent show in the trials. In the absence of any tournaments, the trials and the new format helped us to zero in on the current in-form players as they have proved their abilities and have earned top rankings in the trials. I believe these youngsters along with the senior shuttlers will create a good combination and all the new faces will also get much-needed experience of playing top-tier tournaments like the Thomas and Uber Cup as well as the Sudirman Cup. On behalf of BAI, I wish all the players best of luck for both the events," BAI General Secretary Ajay Singhania said.
In the Thomas Cup, the Indian team has been placed in the Group C alongside the defending champions China with Netherlands and Tahiti being the other two teams in the group. While the women's team has been drawn in the Group B along with Thailand, Spain and Scotland in the Uber Cup.
On the other hand, in the 12-member team for the 17th edition of the Sudirman Cup, top-ranked doubles pair from the trials Dhruv Kapila and MR Arjun have been named in the squad alongside Srikanth, Praneeth and doubles pair of Satwiksairaj and Chriag, who made into the team on the basis of their world rankings.
Among the women, Top-2 doubles pairs from the trials, Tanisha-Rutuparna and Ashwini Ponnappa-N Sikki Reddy have been selected alongside Top-2 singles from the trials Bansod and Bhatt.
The biennial tournament will see the Indian team competing along with the defending champions China, Thailand and hosts Finland in the Group A.
Thomas and Uber Cup
Men: B Sai Praneeth, Kidambi Srikanth, Kiran George, Sameer Verma, Satwiksairaj Rankireddy, Chirag Shetty, Dhruv Kapila, MR Arjun, Krishna Prasad Garaga, Vishnu Vardhan
Women: Saina Nehwal, Malivka Bansod, Aditi Bhatt, Tasnim Mir, Tanisha Crasto, Rutuparna Panda, Ashwini Ponnappa, N Sikki Reddy, Gayatri, Treesa Jolly
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
Source: BAI Release