HS Prannoy is one of the promising talents in Indian badminton. He is currently honing his skills at Gopichand Academy, Hyderabad. He was in Delhi for the final of Premier Badminton League (PBL) representing his team, Mumbai Rockets. Prannoy spoke to Salmanul Farisy about pbl and India’s chances at the Rio Olympics this year.
Edited Excerpts from an Interview.
How was your experience playing at the pbl?
I think it was wonderful. It was also conducted in a superb manner. The youngsters got a chance to play with the world’s top-ranked players. I think every team has performed really well and it (PBL) also offered an opportunity for many (upcoming) players to interact with world-class players.
Do you think that the pbl is helping youngsters? If so, how?
Definitely. I feel youngsters don’t really get the chance to play international matches due to the ranking system. When it comes to the league, they can play against each other. It’s more like a training programme of 10-15 days. It is really going to be helpful for the juniors as they can observe how the seniors are preparing for the game.
I think it’s going to be really helpful in the coming years. In the next couple of years more top seeded players will be coming here to play in the league and the junior players will get more exposure in the process.
What are your thoughts on the PBL schedule? It is happening during the rest period of the international players.
I think it’s going to be difficult. National level tournaments can be tough as they clash with the calendar of the Badminton World Federation (BWF) and nobody wants to miss international tournaments. And in between players get a break of two to three months. So, you can’t really schedule anything during the recess. All the super series matches are scheduled between March and December. So, this is the perfect time for the PBL. It might be a bit hectic for two weeks. However, that should not cause much of a problem to the international players.
This being an Olympic year, some would not want to risk an injury so as to prepare well for the games. But from next year onwards, the PBL will become very competitive as there will be a lot more participation of international players.
Is this the reason why Saina (Nehwal) played very few matches?
Might be, but she got injured well before the PBL. It was only in December last year that she regained fitness. After the pbl, the next super series will happen only in March. Saina gave her best in all the PBL matches she played.
What is your take on the players who are very good at junior level but fail to make an impact at the senior level?
The competency at junior level is very less these days. It’s not simply about training, it’s also about time. In the last five years there has been a lot of difference. Earlier there was no one from India in the top 50 but now there are. In the next few years, you can see many of them winning titles.
What are your expectations at Rio Olympics this year?
I am not expecting too much at the Rio Olympics. I am just trying to be fit and play as many good tournaments I can. Those who are going to Rio will perform well. Saina and PV Sindhu have more chances of winning the medal. We have good players in the doubles category also. If they continue with the current form in Rio, we have a good chance of winning the medal.