Indian badminton ace Kidambi Srikanth has stated that Bengaluru Raptors look a well-balanced side this season, at least on paper, for the fourth Pro Badminton League season. He also stated that the camaraderie between players increase when they play, stay, and dine together in a franchise.
From winning his first BWF Super Series China Open in 2014 to winning the men’s singles silver at the 2018 Commonwealth Games, Srikanth has come a long way at the international circuit. He had created ripples on the circuit after beating former World Number one Lin Dan back in 2014 at the China Open finals.
However, though Srikanth had many more titles before the China Open victory, he reached his peak only after that win. But he revealed that it was his first International challenger title that is the most memorable for him.
“Well, maybe my first International Challenge title. That was my first ever international win in men’s singles. So I was really happy and that really helped me, you know, continue playing singles,” said Srikanth to scroll.in.
The Premier Badminton League’s(PBL) fourth season began on December 22 and Srikanth has stated that his side has a very balanced side who could go on to lift the title. For Raptors, apart from Srikanth, B Sai Praneeth has been at the helm in the men's singles category. On the double's category, they have two formidable players in Mohammad Ehsan and Hendra Setiawan, who are ranked World Number 16th in that category.
In the women's category, England's Lauren Smith has been a consistent player in the doubles category and is currently ranked World Number 14th. Sanjana Santosh, Thi Trang Vu and Mithun Manjunath complete the line-up for the Raptors.
“Well, on paper, I particularly feel that we have a very good team. And it’s just important for all of us to give our best on that match day. I think we can do that we definitely have a chance of winning this season,”.
The Bengaluru based franchise is yet to win a PBL title. They came agonisingly close the last time around and lost the final of the third season to Hyderabad Hunters 4-3. About the preparation for the PBL fourth season, Srikanth explained about the difference at the team level between the international tournaments and the PBL.
“Well, the preparation still remains the same. Because this is an individual game we have own particular things, doing in our own way. For the league, I feel it will be a little different. It’s like all the 10 players going to the stadium at the same time, cheering each other and then coming back at the same time. And then all those group lunches, group dinners and all those different things. I think its definitely a great experience and it is so much different from the regular tour,” he added.