In a big blow to India's chances, the best doubles pair from the country -- Satwiksairaj and Chirag Shetty -- won't be competing in the upcoming Sudirman Cup in Finland. The tournament starts from September 26, and the Indians will be up against China, Thailand and Finland in Group A.
The India men's doubles pair of Chirag Shetty and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy, who represented the country at the Tokyo Olympics, has pulled out of the Sudirman Cup to be played in Finland, on medical grounds. The world no.10 pair was part of the 12-member squad announced by the BAI.
“Chirag and Satwik have withdrawn on medical grounds as the former is not well," a BAI source told PTI. “It is also uncertain if they will participate in the Thomas Cup which will be held after the Sudirman Cup. It will be subject to Chirag’s recovery from illness." Meanwhile it is not clear what kind of illness is Chirag going through.
Right after the Sudirman Cup, the Thomas and Uber Cup will start from October 9 to 17 at Aarhus in Denmark. With the pair not available already, it puts immense pressure on rest of the team to do well as singles specialist PV Sindhu won't be a part of the mix as well.
Sudirman Cup is going to be the first tournament to be held this year by the BWF, as most of them were cancelled in the wake of Covid-19 pandemic. In the absence of Satwik and Chirag, Dhruv Kapila and MR Arjun will take over the doubles responsibility.
The Indian team consists of Kidambi Srikanth, B Sai Praneeth, team of Ashwini Ponnappa and N Sikki Reddy and youngsters like Malvika Bansod, Aditi Bhatt, Tanisha Crasto, Rutuparna Panda. India will take on China, Thailand and hosts Finland in Group A.