New Delhi: With little to cheer about their performance in the Thomas Cup, where India failed to make the quarters, captain Parupalli Kashyap said that his team always had its back against the wall as there was too much pressure on the singles players to pull off three out of three matches.
The Indian men`s team lost 1-4 to Malaysia on day one, went down 2-3 against Korea, before finally winning against Germany 3-2 in their last group tie today to salvage pride. "It was always going to be tough because we were always expecting 100 per cent from three singles. We were always 0-2 down in the doubles. So, there was a lot of pressure on all three singles players. Srikanth, playing the first singles, was under a lot of pressure. We saw it against Korea. Today also, it was very tough for him, although he managed to pull off his match," Kashyap said.
"We both (Srikanth and myself) were under a lot of pressure to win our respective singles matches," said Kashyap after India`s otherwise disappointing campaign ended on a winning note. Kidambi Srikanth had lost his first two matches against Malaysia and Korea, before pulling it off against Germany. Kashyap lost his matches against Malaysia and Germany, but won his tie against Korea.
But India`s third singles player, R M V Gurusaidutt surprised one and all by winning all three of his ties in the group stage. Applauding Gurusaidutt, national coach Pullela Gopichand said he has improved a lot as a player. "There are always some glitches but he has done very well and we have got a good option in third singles in form of Gurusaidutt," he said.
Kashyap said that his team, especially the singles players, have a lot of positives to take home. "Overall three singles players tried really hard. That`s where our strength was. We had to get 100 per cent result and there was no option of the doubles. So, it was always going to be tough.
"I would say the team is improving. The players, especially singles, will get better. I am confident that I will also get better," said Kashyap. Assessing his own performance, Kashyap admitted that he was "very inconsistent". "I was very inconsistent throughout the tournament. Even during today`s match, I was very inconsistent. I was very bad against Malaysia on the first day. I was excellent on the second day against Korea, but today again my performance was very patchy. I played well only in patches. I need to be a little more consistent," he pointed out.
Asked if the men`s team contemplated fielding him and Srikanth in doubles as was the case in Uber Cup, where Saina Nehwal and P V Sindhu played the second doubles against Thailand yesterday, Kashyap responded in negative. "No. Doubles players were better than me and Srikanth. They have been playing doubles all year round. So, me and Srikanth playing doubles was not an option. Even Saina and Sindhu could not win their doubles match yesterday."
Meanwhile Srikanth, who lost his first two matches against Malaysia`s Lee Chong Wei and Korea`s Wan Ho Son, said Thomas Cup was a good experience for him. "It was a good experience playing in the Thomas Cup. After two defeats, I am happy to win one and finish on a high. I played very close matches against both Lee Chong Wei and Wan Ho Son," said Srikanth.
Gurusaidutt said the team wanted to go back home on a winning note and the onus was on him in the third an
d finals singles match after India and Germany were tied at 2-2. "We wanted to go back home on a winning note. It was very important for us," he said.
"Actually, it was a good tournament for us. Losing 2-3 to Korea made the difference. Today was very important to win and we badly wanted to win this tie. We had a tough group and finishing number three in the group was not really bad," Gurusaidutt concluded.