Glimpse of Srikanth’s potential

K Srikanth is in possession of perhaps the most attractive games in Indian badminton currently.

Written by Shivani Naik | Published: September 2, 2013 2:20:24 am

K Srikanth is in possession of perhaps the most attractive games in Indian badminton currently. Saina Nehwal wins plenty and gets the patriotic pulse racing. Sindhu with her big booming game is effective belling the Chinese cats.

Kashyap,Ajay Jayaram,Guru Saidutt,Anand Pawar and Sourabh Verma are all maxing their talent to get the regular giant-killing scalps. But,Srikanth is the man to look out for beyond the blustery headlines.

Winner of the Thailand Open Grand Prix Gold this June — a rare victory for men’s singles despite them crowding the Top 50s — the 21-year-old has broken out from the clutter of the Indian challengers pack during this whirlwind IBL,entertaining the most with his unorthodox game and on-court aggression.

His 21-12,21-20 win over Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk for Awadhe Warriors in the final was a glimpse of his potential.

There’s more than a hint of Gopichand to his on-court poise — his fluid,floaty gliding strides to the net and back,the mysterious wrist flicks with his forearm parallel to the cord that help him dominate the narrative at the net,and the sudden bursts of speed that result in some stunning smashing.

He’s still work in progress,but the progression is one worth following as he looks the most likely to break through and succeed,even while he assures edge of the seat action.

“He has speed and power and some deception at net. Hits some amazing smash winners,” Aparna Popat,former international,says. She warns against the pitfalls: “Aggressive attitude but overdoes it,which makes him erratic.”

Not since Anup Sridhar has there been a booming game to talk of,though P Kashyap has earned himself some decent results. Kashyap’s net-game is polished and evolved but Srikanth boasts of some natural deception and a serious ability to surprise. Modern badminton and the international circuit forces a basic prototype,fitness-based style on men’s singles players,though Srikanth is shaking a few things up with his out-of-the box strokes,and grabbing eyeballs hitherto glued to women’s singles.

(Shivani Naik is an assistant editor based in Mumbai)

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