By Harpal Singh Bedi

New Delhi, 11 September; Former World number 1 Kidambi Srikanth and World champion PV Sindhu will spearhead the 20-member strong Indian challenge in the Thomas and Uber Cup scheduled to be played in Denmark next month.

The Badminton Association of India (BAI) announced the squad after the preparatory camp for the Thomas and Uber Cup, to be held in in Hyderabad , was cancelled.

“After a lot of deliberations and multi-label meetings with all stakeholders including Sports Authority of India, we have decided to cancel the camp. With the SOP implemented and quarantine procedures followed, there will not be enough time to conduct a camp and hence it was a decision taken in consultation with the five selectors and the National Coach”. said Badminton Association of India (BAI) General Secretary Ajay Singhania.

“We have also selected a team that will be representing India at the Thomas & Uber Cup as well as the other two tournaments to be played in Denmark,” he added.

On the other hand the Sports Authority of India (SAI) in a statement said that the reason for the cancellation was the reluctance of some campers to undergo the mandatory quarantine period, “It has been learnt that owing to the unwillingness of some campers to undergo the quarantine period, the camp which was to start on September 7 could not begin,”

The final date for declaring the teams for the tournaments is September 17.

World Championship bronze medallist Sai Praneeth has opted out due to fitness problems while top men’s doubles pair of Chirag Shetty and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy have also pulled out due to the latter testing positive for Covid-19.

The Thomas Cup squad will be led by former world No. 1 Kidambi Srikanth with Parupalli Kashyap and Lakshya Sen being the other top stars. The doubles charge will be spearheaded by former national champions Manu Attri and B. Sumeeth Reddy .

Uber Cup squad will be bolstered by the presence of both Saina Nehwal and PV Sindhu after the latter consented to her availability at the insistence of BAI president Himanta Biswa Sarma.

Commonwealth Games bronze medallists Ashwini Ponnappa and Sikki Reddy, meanwhile, will be helming the doubles department with youngsters Aakarshi Kashyap and Malvika Bansod also getting a look into the squad.

Thomas Cup squad: Kidambi Srikanth, Parupalli Kashyap, Lakshya Sen, Subhankar Dey, Siril Verma, Manu Attri, B. Sumeeth Reddy, M R Arjun, Dhruv Kapila, Krishna Prasad Garaga.

Uber Cup squad: PV Sindhu, Saina Nehwal, Aakarshi Kashyap, Malvika Bansod, Ashwini Ponnappa, N Sikki Reddy, Pooja Dandu, Sanjana Santosh, Poorvisha S Ram, Jakkampudi Meghana.

The selected players have been asked to submit fitness certificates by September 17 and players have been advised to train on their own and keep BAI updated on their regular fitness and training status.

In Thomas Cup, India has been placed in Group C with 2016 champions Denmark being their biggest competition, besides Germany and Algeria in the same group.

In Uber Cup, India finds itself in Group D with the other teams being China, Germany and France. However, the 14-time champions China are still awaiting confirmation of their participation.

Team departure dates will be intimated to the players later.

–INDIA NEWS STREAM