India will be without the services of ace women's singles shuttlers Saina Nehwal and P V Sindhu and the onus will be on the men's singles and doubles pairs to lead the country's challenge at the inaugural Asia Mixed Team Championship, starting on Tuesday.
Initially named in the squad, Saina and Sindhu decided to skip the tournament to prepare for the upcoming hectic international schedule which includes next month's All England Championship.
In the absence of Saina and Sindhu, Tanvi Lad and newly-crowned National champion and Polish open winner Rituparna Das will spearhead the challenge in the women's singles, while the onus in men's singles will be on H S Prannoy and Syed Modi Grand Prix Gold winner Sameer Verma.
"The absence of Saina and Sindhu will obviously affect our chances but I think it's a great chance for the youngsters to prove themselves," Prannoy, the Swiss Open champion, told PTI.
"I have been doing pretty okay, I guess. Nothing new as in preparation but I think I should be good when matches starts," said the World No. 24 Indian, who made early exits at Syed Modi International and National Championship.
With the ties including three doubles matches, India's fate will depend on the mixed pair of Pranaav Jerry Chopra and N Sikki Reddy, who won the Syed Modi title last month, men's combination of B Sumeeth Reddy and Manu Attri as well as the newly-formed women's pair of Ashwini Ponnappa and Sikki.
India has been clubbed in Group D along with Korea and Singapore in the tournament which will also have Asian powerhouses such as China, Malaysia, Japan, Indonesia and Thailand.
"We have a good chance against Singapore but Korea looks a bit tough though. But I guess we should win against Singapore and try to qualify for quarters," Prannoy said.
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Updated Date: Feb 13, 2017 17:32:48 IST