Saina, Kashyap to captain Indian teams at Thomas, Uber Cup

New Delhi: Top India shuttlers Parupalli Kashyap and Saina Nehwal have been named captains of the men`s and women`s national teams respectively for the Thomas and Uber Cup Finals starting here on Sunday.

In Thomas Cup, India have been clubbed with Malaysia, South Korea and Germany, while in Uber Cup India will face Thailand, Canada and Hong Kong during the event, to be held at the Siri Fort Sports Complex here from May 18 to 25.

"I would like to announce that Kashyap will captain the Thomas Cup team and Saina will be captaining the Uber Cup side," Badminton Association of India (BAI) president Akhilesh Das Gupta said during the launch of the prestigious event here today.

This is the first time India is hosting the event. While India stand a great chance of making the quarterfinals in the upcoming Uber Cup, men will have to play out of their skins if they wanted to make a cut in Thomas Cup. Captain Kashyap, however, said if the hosts managed to do well against one of the two teams between Malaysia and South Korea, it would have a good chance.

"We would have preferred to play Germany initially and then Malaysia and Korea. But nevertheless, we will have to play Malaysia and Korea first. Those two ties are really important. If we can get good result in one of those ties then we have a chance to go through," said Kashyap.

The Commonwealth Games bronze-medallist said he was up for the challenge and was trying to keep his team in high spirits.

"I will be captaining for the first time. I am happy to be responsible. Just to get the energy going, I have spoken to team members a couple of times. We have to be in good spirit from the start," said Kashyap.

Speaking on his team`s strategy, Kashyap said, "Me, K Srikanth and the first doubles -- we will have to get the team going. I am sure all of us are doing really well and Srikanth (who will be playing the first singles) will give us a good start all the time."

Saina said while she does not play too many team events, it would be interesting to not just perform as an individual but as a unit.

"We hardly play together as a unit. But while watching others play, if I see them making any mistake, I can always point out and tell that player. I will definitely be tensed," Saina said.

"One also has to concentrate on winning own match. My work is to win my first singles match to set the momentum for the team. As far as the other matches are concerned, it will be interesting to watch how they are playing and cheer them up," she added.