New Delhi: India’s maiden Thomas Cup title came on the back of some solid camaraderie shown by the players on and off the court. However, HS Prannoy has revealed that ‘bonding’ is something which is not common in a sport like badminton, where shuttlers play individually in tournaments.
The 29-year-old said following India’s gold medal-winning performance against the most successful team in the tournament’s history — Indonesia — that the players made a “conscious effort” to gel and ensure there were slip-ups this time around.
Not getting overawed by Indonesia’s reputation — they have 14 titles to their name in the tournament — India defeated the favourites 3-0 after previously reaching the Thomas Cup semis in 1952, 1955, and 1979.
Prannoy, whose selection in the side for the tournament had raised questions, said, “The way everyone bonded this week, I think I should give credit to all the players out there and I think we made a conscious effort to do this because we knew this is not something which is very common amongst us… because we play individual events the entire year.
“And, to come to a team event and all of a sudden to gel is slightly tough. But I think we all made this conscious effort,” said Prannoy, who had won the decisive singles game against Rasmus Gemke of Denmark in the semifinal to earn India its maiden entry in the final.
He said that from the day the team left Hyderabad for the tournament in Bangkok, the focus and discussion centred around team bonding, which he felt is the essence of a team sport.
“The day we left Hyderabad, we had a team discussion saying that this is the time where we can win this… we have a team which can actually challenge for the title. But the only thing, which we will have to consciously do is to help and support each other because that’s what is going to change the results in the entire tournament,” opined Prannoy, who played the semifinal with an ankle injury and still managed to guide the team into the final.
Badminton stalwart, Kidambi Srikanth, termed it as one of the biggest achievements in his personal career.
“Individual events are always different from team events and we hardly get to play any team events. Thomas and Uber Cups are one of the biggest team events that we have. So, when you actually end up winning such a big tournament, it really is a very big win. It will actually take a while before you actually know what has happened,” he said.
Despite being the oldest member of the contingent in a team composed of youngsters, he didn’t have to give any motivational speeches.