Slamming India's top shuttlers for being "complacent" in international events, chief national coach U. Vimal Kumar has called for putting the players under greater pressure and scrutiny so that they may deliver in the world arena.
"I have been a little hard on the players because I feel they are not put under enough scrutiny and pressure," Vimal, who has been appointed to the post till the 2006 Commonwealth Games, said in an interview.
"In my opinion, a player who has been playing continuously for five or six years of international badminton, if he or she is not able to get to a certain stage, it's a sure sign of complacency," he said.
Vimal said his assessment applied to all top Indian shuttlers without exception and he was not singling out anybody.
However, he added in the same breath: "But again, they (the top players) are all very talented and have the capability. My contention is the sort of commitment they show in domestic tournaments and getting into the team, if they show that sort of drive in international events, we can get much better results.
"Going into a tournament looking for an easy draw and then coming back and saying it was a tough draw. Such things definitely won't help," Vimal commented.
The coach said if he had his way, he would have the players play a mixture of big and small international events, rather than participating in only top meets.
"Otherwise, you keep reading this player lost in the first round, this player lost in the second round. That's not very good and that's because we are playing in only big events. It should be a mixture of big and small events."
India's top woman shuttler Aparna Popat, ranked 23 in the world, is the only Indian to get a direct entry to the Athens Olympic Games in August.
National men's champion Abhinn Shyam Gupta and Nikhil Kanetkar, ranked 44th and 48th in the world, respectively, have an outside chance to qualify for the mega event if some players withdraw before the event.
Abhinn is currently number two on the 'waiting list' and is highly likely to make the Olympic cut.