Praneeth: 'Playing with Marin will be a huge learning curve'

B. Sai Praneeth has threatened and on few occasions beat top-ranked shuttlers. This year, he won the Canadian Open. But consistency, he's lacked so far. With the PBL, he hopes to learn a lot and become better.

sai praneeth

Sai Praneeth believes Premier Badminton League starting from January 1 will be the perfect beginning to realise his new year dreams.   -  Nagara Gopal

The badminton world took notice of Bhamidipati Sai Praneeth when he scripted a forgetful farewell for the Indonesian legend Taufik Hidayat, Praneeth's favourite player, in the first round of 2013 Indonesian Open.

Ever since Praneeth has been struggling to string together performances which could have made him a force to reckon with. He's pulled off a few upsets like defeating former All England champion Muhammad Hafiz Hashim in 2013 Thailand Open, stunning World No. 1 Lee Chong Wei in the first round of this year's All England championship. But consistency, he's lacked so far.

The 23-year-old shuttler, who plays for Hyderabad Hunters, believes Premier Badminton League (PBL) starting from January 1 will be the perfect start to realise his new year dreams.

"Definitely playing and moving around with some one like two-time world champion and Rio Olympics gold medallist (Carolina) Marin is itself a huge learning curve. We just had our first training session this evening. I am keen to pick a few new things and be a much better player," says Praneeth.

The Canadian Open champion isn't too concerned with the PBL's 11-point format that doesn't allow a lot of time to think.

"When you go out there, my target will be to settle the issue as early as possible given the format," he says.

"This is the kind of format where no team can be called a favourite. There will be upsets for sure. Every team will be tough to beat as each of them has a perfect mix of world-class players," he said.

"Yes, playing in front of the home crowd in the early rounds should be a major plus for us. But, again, we have to be at our best to beat the opponents and the clash between Marin and P. V. Sindhu should be a thriller. I am sure the fans will be taken a trip down memory lane to Rio," he adds.

"There is no doubt I should be backing my player, Marin, even though it means she is up against Sindhu. This is what makes PBL so special and exciting."

"My big target next year is to win a Super Series title. Working really hard on my fitness and I feel more confident and hope to have a much better 2017. I must say, like many shuttlers, fortunate to have someone like Gopi (Pullela Gopichand) Sir as my coach at the Academy," he says.