India Open 2019: National coach Pullela Gopichand calls out 'inconsistent' umpiring in India's men's doubles loss in semis

  • The coach questioned the decision of docking two points for service errors to India's Manu Attri and B Sumeeth Reddy

  • Gopichand also reckoned that PV Sindhu was unlucky to lose her semi-final

  • The coach said he was happy with Kidambu Srikanth's progress at the India Open

New Delhi: It is not commonplace for a chief national coach to complain about umpiring decisions in a BWF tournament, but Pullela Gopichand did exactly that on Sunday. The coach questioned the decision of docking two points for service errors to India's Manu Attri and B Sumeeth Reddy during their semi-final on Saturday.

 India Open 2019: National coach Pullela Gopichand calls out inconsistent umpiring in Indias mens doubles loss in semis

File photo of Pullela Gopichand. AFP

The Indian men were up against Indonesia's Ricky Karandasuwardi and Angga Pratama, and the hosts were fined twice for service mistakes. It resulted in them losing two points against the eventual finalists.

"When you have umpires who don’t call you an entire week, they call you on a particular day, it's something wrong with the standards of umpiring in terms of consistency. So, had that been the case, yesterday’s match we had a chance to pull out in the semi-finals of men’s doubles," the soft-spoken 45-year-old said.

The coach also reckoned that PV Sindhu was unlucky to lose her semi-final against He Bingjiao. The Indian ace lost 21-23, 18-21 to the Chinese after leading in both games.

"Sindhu should have won on another day. I even thought Sumeeth was unlucky. These are two matches. And then, Sikki and Ashwini leading at 11-4 in the game and then also later in the match they could have wrapped up that game. These are three matches where I thought we had our chances.

"Also, to be fair, Kashyap has had a good run and a good tournament. He lost to Viktor yesterday, but I thought he played really well. Considering what has happened for him in the last few months or year, it has been a good comeback of sorts," Gopichand said.

The chief coach was largely satisfied with India's performance in the singles. A total of five Indians made it to the last-eight stage – PV Sindhu, Parupalli Kashyap, HS Prannoy, B Sai Praneeth, Kidambi Srikanth – and the coach was happy to see many of his wards making it to the knock-outs.

"Barring one or two matches, by and large, it has been a good tournament. It was very good to see all of them whether it was Srikanth, Sai, Prannoy, or Sameer. Many of them lost to each other. I would have liked them to play other sides or other opponents.

"Secondly, it is good that the women’s doubles and the men’s doubles did well. Good results from both. Srikanth’s was a good final to reach. Prannoy had a good tournament. I would have liked Sindhu to wrap up the match yesterday. I just thought the women’s and men’s doubles even had a chance to go further. So, I think it has been a good campaign," he said.

The coach also praised Kidambi Srikanth's progress through the India Open. The World No 6 played his first Superseries-level final in 15 months after a successful 2017.

"I think Srikanth's campaign has been good. He is a good player, there is no doubt about it. I don’t see much of an issue with him, but yes, you have Momota, Viktor, Chen Long, Lin Dan, Lee Chong Wei on the circuit. Although our guys are good, I still see a lot of scope for improvement."

Further, Gopichand stressed on the need for Srikanth to win big matches, and termed his game at the India Open as an improvement.

"There are players who he finds it difficult to play against, that is also a fact. And he is stumbled against these players in the big matches and if he has to win the big medals he will have to beat those players. We need to figure a way out. What is good is that he is played with a certain level of consistency. Yesterday’s match was a good revelation. He has played a certain kind of badminton which is I believe is an improvement. I am very happy with the way he has progressed technically. For him to get comfortable with that game and to win might take time but I believe he is on the right path," the coach concluded.

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Updated Date: Mar 31, 2019 21:01:41 IST