Uphill Battle for India as Defending Champions in Thomas Cup Defense

Leon To

Wed May 01 2024

Thomas Cup
Defending Champions
HS Prannoy
Lakshya Sen
Kidambi Srikanth
Satwiksairaj Rankireddy
Chirag Shetty
Dhruv Kapila
Arjun MR
Priyanshu Rajawat

The reigning champion India faces a daunting challenge in defending their Thomas Cup title as they head to Chengdu with an unstable lineup. Despite maintaining the core team that triumphed in Bangkok two years ago, India's prospects are uncertain as key players struggle with form and fitness ahead of the tournament.

Last year, HS Prannoy was on a high, clinching the Malaysia Masters title and finishing runner-up at the Australia Open. However, health issues resurfaced this year, leading to early exits in five out of six World Tour events. Lakshya Sen endured a nightmare run of early defeats in 2023 and early 2024 before rediscovering his form with semifinal appearances at the French Open and All England. Meanwhile, Kidambi Srikanth's performance has dwindled, reaching his peak with a semifinal spot at the Swiss Open in the past year.

The third singles spot could possibly go to the young Priyanshu Rajawat, who has impressed in top international tournaments, claiming his first Super 300 title at Orleans last year. The doubles pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty has been solidifying their position since winning the Thomas Cup, securing gold at the Asian Championships and Asian Games, and consistently progressing to finals in recent World Tour events.

On the other hand, the duo of Dhruv Kapila and Arjun MR has faced setbacks due to injuries, struggling in 2023 and experiencing early exits at the Malaysia Open and India Open this year. Despite a few notable victories, including winning the Orlen Polish Open, the pair faces an uphill battle to maintain their performance consistency.

With individual players' inconsistent form posing a challenge for India, the task of defending their title in the Thomas Cup looms large. However, as history has shown, a single victory can ignite a team's overall strength. While recent performances may not be in their favor, India's resilience and determination could still see them make a mark in Chengdu. Will India become the fourth team in Thomas Cup history to successfully defend their title? Only time will tell.