| Anup Sridhar is in fine nick
Tokyo: Having achieved their first target of reaching the quarter finals, India would go full throttle against Denmark when they take on the European powerhouse for a place in the last four in the World Men’s Badminton Championship for Thomas Cup.
It would be an uphill task for India to pull off an upset win against Denmark, who have the likes of world No. 3 Peter Gade, No. 7 Kenneth Jonassen and No. 10 Christian Neils.
In the doubles also, Denmark have a formidable line-up with top ranked pair of Jons Erikson and Martin Hansen in their ranks along with Mathias Boe and Carsten Mogensen, the world No. 4.
“We have nothing to lose now as reaching the quarters is in itself a good achievement. We shall do our best against Denmark and see if we can pull off a few matches,” coach Vimal Kumar had said on Monday after India’s 3-0 win against New Zealand.
India managed to edge past Germany 3-2 after losing to defending champions China in the league stage and then trounced New Zealand to make it to the last eight.
Denmark, on the other hand, made a direct entry in the quarter finals after blanking South Africa and Japan 5-0.
But the Indian shuttlers have also showed much promise, reflected in the way they dispatched the New Zealanders despite missing top player Chetan Anand due to an injury.
National champion Anup Sridhar packed off world No. 33 John Moody while Nikhil Kanetkar, replacing Anand, rose to the occasion and brushed aside Craig Cooper’s challenge. Arvind Bhat was also impressive in his efforts.
The victory against New Zealand would serve as a big boost for India given the fact that they were playing without their top singles player in Anand and doubles specialist in Sanave Thomas, who pulled out of the tournament.
It, however, remains to be seen whether Anand would take the courts on Wednesday.
India’s Thomas Cup prospects were beset with problems right from the start with a new doubles combination of Thomas Kurien and Jaseel Ismail having to be worked out after Sanave’s pull out.
But to their credit, they have done well to reach the last eight of the premier event.