Jayaram confident of team's chances

Ace shuttler Ajay Jayaram is confident but senior doubles player V Diju feels it would be tough to qualify for the knockout stage when they lead the Indian challenge at the prestigious Thomas Cup (Asia Zone) tournament, in Macau from Monday.

Indian men has been clubbed with Indonesia, Singapore and Macau in Group B and Jayaram, who will make his debut in Thomas Cup, said they can reach the knockout stage with a collective effort. “I am very excited to play in the Thomas Cup.  This is the first time I will be representing my country, and I give my everything to help India win,” Jayaram said.

“I will be playing the first singles. I have not seen the draw but I know if we can play collectively as a team, we can reach the knockout stage,” said the Chennai-born shuttler.

While Jayaram will play the first singles, Commonwealth Games bronze medallist P Kashyap and national champion Sourabh Verma are likely to play the second and third singles and V Diju will take the court in one of the doubles. The experienced duo of Rupesh Kumar and Sanave Thomas will play the other doubles. “The draw is not decided yet, it will be out only tomorrow. We need to target Macau and Singapore to top the group but this time it will be a little tough to qualify as in case we lose to Indonesia then we will be up against Korea or Malaysia,” Diju said.

India plays Singapore on Monday, before taking on Macau and Indonesia on Tuesday and Wednesday respectively.

Two teams from each of the four groups will qualify for the second stage, where the top team from one group will clash against the second best team of another group.
Four teams from Asia Zone will make it to the Thomas Cup Finals in Wuhan (China) from May 20-27.

In the Uber Cup, Indian women are drawn in Group W against power house China and Malaysia.

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