For sometime now, Hasina Sunil Prannoy has not done justice to his immense potential. The strapping 24-year old Kerala shuttler, has the game to beat the best, yet a slew of injuries and his own self doubts, let him down. It required a couple of dream days in Jakarta for Prannoy to exorcise his ghosts as he beat the Fab Two—Al England champ Lee Chong Wei and Olympic and world champion Chen Long to prove his class. The twin success on Thursday and Friday over Chong Wei and Long respectively—very few players have beaten these legends on consecutive days has made the badminton world sit up. Though Prannoy lost in the semis of the Indonesia Super Series to Japanese Kazumaka Sakai, his dream run has been the talking point of Indian badminton.
“No doubt, its my been the the best two days of my career so far.”said Prannoy when Sunday Guardian contacted him in Jakarta. There is no denying the fact that he is living a dream—he said he had to pinch himself on Friday after his epoch victory over Chen Long. “After my win over Chen Long, I pinched myself to believe things were a reality. To beat Lee and then Chen on successive days and that too in a Super Series event. I am not going to forget these two days for the rest of my life,” he said.
For the record, Prannoy is the only Indian shuttler who has scripted wins over Lee Chong Wei, Chen Long, Lin Dan and Taufik Hidayat. He treasures each of his wins over these legends. “Yes its quite satisfying to beat these legends and I am happy to be the only Indian to post wins over all of them,” he said.
Prannoy who has modelled his backhand on Indonesian legend Taufik Hidayat, relied on his backhand to cause maximum damage. Both Lee Chong and Chen Long were time and again done in by his tricky backhand, a shot which he uses for offence. “ I was quite happy that my backhand came good against both Lee and Chen. I have been working very hard on my backhand and feel that all the hardwork that I put in has paid off,” he added.
Prannoy who has won the Swiss Open and Indonesian Open Gold tournament felt that the hardwork and positive attitude of his coach Pullela Gopi Chand also played a big role. “There is no denying the fact that Gopi sir has had a huge effect on me. I used to be a bit carefree in my attitude towards practice, but he (Gopi) ensured that I developed a proper ethic. These things are very important for one’s consistency,” he added.
Prannoy who had a great run in the Indian Badminton League earlier this year, where he led his team Mumbai Rockets into the final, felt that he also learnt to be patient. “Earlier, I used to attack, attack and rush into the match. This led me to make a lot of unforced errors. But now I am ready to rally and wait for the right moment to attack,” he said.
On his part, Prannoy’s father, Sunil Kumar who was first coach, recalled how he would get old Video Cassette Recorders of Taufik Hidayat to teach his son about the merits of a powerful backhand. “In those days, coaching was not so advanced as its now. I had to request my friends to get old VCR’s of Taufik’s matches and Prannoy was very impressed by his backhand. Not surprisingly, he also tried to play his backhand the Taufik way,” added Sunil.