After a successful 2019, Sai Praneeth raring to go again

Ahead of the the latest edition of the Premier Badminton League, Sai Praneeth hopes to have another good outing for Bengaluru Raptors.

Sai Praneeth will skipper the Bengaluru Raptors in PBL 2020.   -  V. V.SUBRAHMANYAM

World championship bronze medallist, B. Sai Praneeth, believes his stint in the Premier Badminton League (PBL) last season helped set up a very satisfying performance in the international circuit. Ahead of the the latest edition of the franchise tournament, starting January 20, he hopes to have another good outing for Bengaluru Raptors.

“Yes, this PBL will be different for me as I will be leading the team which might mean there will be some pressure. But, it is okay as I have played enough of PBL and in the circuit to handle such things,” says Praneeth in a chat with Sportstar.

“Frankly, I thought World No. Tai Tzu Ying would be the captain but may be because of the communication issues, I was chosen to lead and any how the captain’s role is confined to team discussions and meetings as otherwise there is no big role for a captain,” he said.

On PBL's influence, Praneeth says, “Of course, PBL helps Indian badminton a lot by way of exposure to some of the big names and I was myself a beneficiary from 2013 when I first played. This League gives us confidence as it enables to train and compete as we look ahead."

“After a very satisfying 2018, when I won the Worlds bronze, got the Arjuna Award and also got married, I hope to have even better year,” says Praneeth, who will be taking part in the Malaysian and the Indonesian championships to start with this month before the PBL.

Talking of his game, he explained, “Frankly, there were not many changes in my game after the Worlds bronze after which I could have done better. But, there was no time too to do that as we have been continuously playing but I am aware it will be a tough season ahead competing with my own teammates for a slot in the Tokyo Olympics this year."

On Lakshya Sen, Praneeth felt the young talent is really playing well and if he maintains the kind of form he had shown recently, the 18-year-old will be a force to reckon with from India for sure.

What exactly is the area of focus now? “Improve my fitness. Yes, I have been saying this for quite some which also means that I have to maintain the desired levels to be a better player. Whenever I trained well, I performed better,” says Praneeth.