Mumbai: A sudden calf muscle tear having upset his plans to make it to the 2015 year-ending Dubai Super Series finals, India's most experienced male shuttler, Parupalli Kashyap, is looking forward to the Premier Badminton League to put his game back on track in the Olympic year.
"I had a calf muscle tear on my left leg which happened in the French Open almost two months back. It was a big setback. I was really upset about it. I had a clear cut chance to qualify for the Dubai Super Series finals which I was aiming for the whole year. I wanted to be in the top eight and qualify for Dubai," Kashyap told reporters here on Friday.
The world No. 15 and 2012 London Olympic Games quarter finalist will represent his home town franchise, Hyderabad Hunters, in the PBL commencing here tomorrow.
Kashyap said he was ahead on points at that moment, and even cursory first round exits in the next two events – in Hong Kong and China - would not have stopped him from making it to Dubai, but he withdrew on ethical grounds.
"If I had participated in Hong Kong and China even by not wining a single round, I still could have made it to Dubai because my points were better than the others, but it did not happen. I did not think it was ethical to go in a wheelchair and concede my match just make it to Dubai.
"Even in Dubai, (if I had gone) just to get points, I would not have been fit although I would have got points and remained in the top 10. But as a player I felt it was not right. (Consequently) My ranking dropped to 15. This is a setback. It's Olympic qualification and I would have had considerable lead over others. But I am positive about it and feel everything happens for the good. I had time to think about my game," said the 29-year-old shuttler.
Saying he did not know why the injury happened, Kashyap said he will take a call on how many of the 11 tournaments to play to qualify for the August Rio Games after taking part in the PBL.
"I don't know why the calf snapped. I have recovered from that totally, but once you get back to training you have other issues also - little niggles and pains are there. I am getting to my best and hope this tournament will help me in this. I am just looking forward to the (new) season," said the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games gold medal winner.
"That's the total number (11 tournaments to qualify for Rio), but I don't expect to play all, probably 7-8. I don't want to look ahead. I am looking to get fitter, get back to form.
"I have entered myself in tournaments in January – in Malaysia and Lucknow (Syed Modi Memorial GP). I will take the call about Malaysia after this tournament. Surely I will play in Lucknow.
"From then on I will decide which tournaments to play. Surely the March tournaments are the ones I am targeting to get into form. In February there is the Asian team championships in Hyderabad and the Thai Grand Prix Gold too before that. Lots of tournaments to play are there but I will have to take a call after this tournament, with physio and coach (P Gopichand)," he said.
Kashyap said the Badminton World Federation's qualification process would be simple to understand if the Race to Rio rankings are just set aside.
"The qualificatio n process is simple. The No. 1 player from India gets through if no one is in the top 16 on May 3. If there are two in the top 16, both qualify and if there are more than two in the top 16 then the top two qualify. That's it.
"Race to Rio (rankings) is confusing and every week's world ranking is the one to follow. The way all three of us are playing now - me, (HS) Prannoy and (Kidambi) Srikanth, we should all end up in the top 16," he declared.
Speaking about PBL, Kashyap said the league has struck the right balance between Indian and foreign players.
"Have got the correct balance because you have (his teammate) No. 1 player (Lee Chong Wei of Malaysia), then Tommy (Sugiarto of Indonesia playing for Delhi Acers) in good form. Rajiv (Ouseph of England and playing for Delhi Acers) is also there and there are others. It's the right balance.
"If all the top players are coming there will be no exposure for the Indian players who are also doing well and are in the top 50 and are better than most international players.
"It's the right mix as the number of Indian players have improved now. There was a remarkable improvement in Srikanth after the IBL (Indian Badminton League held in 2013), Hopefully it will help someone else and also me," he added.