Former Indian batting great Sunil Gavaskar has compared India’s Thomas Cup 2022 badminton win with that of the cricket team’s 1983 World Cup-winning feat and said Sunday’s victory in Bangkok could usher in a new era for the sport in the country. (More Badminton News)
Led by seniors Kidambi Srikanth and HS Prannoy, the Indian men’s badminton team scripted history at the Impact Arena beating 14-time champions Indonesia 3-0 in the summit clash to take home their maiden gold medals. India had beaten West Indies in the 1983 World Cup final at Lord’s.
“I think it is such a wonderful day for badminton, I think this could be the 1983 moment for badminton because, in 1983, nobody expected us to win,” Gavaskar said before the start of the Lucknow Super Giants vs Rajasthan Royals game in the ongoing IPL 2022.
Coming into the final after wins against mighty Malaysia and Denmark in the quarterfinals and semifinals respectively, India were underdogs in the final against defending champions Indonesia. But the young side showed tremendous grit and determination to show the world they are here to rule.
Young Lakshya Sen gave India the lead with a win over higher-ranked Anthony Ginting before the doubles pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty came from a game down to beat Mohammad Ahsan and Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo.
Leading 2-0 in the final, it was just a matter of time for Kidambi Srikanth as he outclassed Jonatan Christie to send the jam-packed crowd into joy. For the fact, Srikanth didn’t lose a single game in the whole tournament.
“I am not saying nobody expected India to win because India in the last two years, has developed a fabulous badminton team but they were playing 14-time champions Indonesia, just that little bit of doubt. I am just so delighted, as I said, over the sun, over the moon. I am over all the planets,” said Gavaskar, who was a part of India’s 1983 World Cup-winning squad.
HISTORY SCRIPTED 🥺❤️— BAI Media (@BAI_Media) May 15, 2022
Pure show of grit and determination & India becomes the #ThomasCup champion for the 1️⃣st time in style, beating 14 times champions Indonesia 🇮🇩 3-0 in the finals 😎
It's coming home! 🏻#TUC2022#ThomasCup2022#ThomasUberCups#IndiaontheRise#Badminton pic.twitter.com/GQ9pQmsSvP
India’s badminton has been on the rise for last five years with PV Sindhu winning two Olympic medals and a World Championship gold medal in 2019. Kidambi Srikanth too won a World Championship silver last year, making him the first Indian male shuttler to do so. And not to forget young Lakshya Sen, whose last biggest achievement was finishing All England 2022 Open runners-up.
Saina Nehwal had won a bronze at 2012 London Olympics. An avid follower of the sport, Gavaskar said he would choose badminton over cricket on any given day. “The Indian Thomas Cup team winning the badminton title, which is like the world title for the first time and beating Indonesia, who have been 14-time champions, they are the defending champions.
“They beat them. I'll tell you what, I am just over the moon, I love badminton. If you give me a choice between watching a game of cricket -- T20 and badminton, I'll choose badminton anytime,” added Gavaskar, who used to play badminton to help his slip-catching reflexes.
“I think it is a very hard and tough game, you need loads of stamina, you need anticipation, your reflexes, everything. I used to play a little bit, only to help my slip catching reflexes because when you go for the shuttle on the backend side or on the forehand side, you need those reflexes.
“So that was the intention, not so much for stamina or anything of that sort. So that is why I played, I used to play doubles, mind you. I did not have the legs or lungs for the singles,” he further added. Meanwhile, the day started with the news of the tragic demise of former Australian all-rounder Andrew Symonds, who died in a car crash.