Kidambi Srikanth, along with HS Prannoy, was the senior-most member of the 10-man Indian Thomas Cup team that achieved unprecedented glory in Bangkok on Sunday, 15 May, winning the title for the country for the first time in the tournament's 74-year history.
But how did 10 men, who usually are focused on their individual game while playing on the BWF circuit, come together to flourish so beautifully as a team? It was the result of a conscious move made by the team – to focus on bonding with each other and supporting each other.
"We decided that we will have a lot of team meetings, before and after matches. We decided we will go out for lunch or dinner or training sessions or gym sessions all together as a team. We will go anywhere as a team and make those small commitments, so it will help everyone gel and work together as a team.
"We decided that even if a player wasn't playing on the day, they would go to the stadium and sit in the dugout and support the team. I think everyone was very supportive of each other. When you see after the winning point, everyone jumped in and that shows how much we wanted to win this as a year," said Srikanth while speaking to The Quint.
This wasn't the first time Srikanth had competed at the Thomas Cup but it was the debut event for more than a few players in the team, including the Indian singles number one Lakshya Sen. Srikanth, Sen, and Prannoy made a formidable singles line-up for India. The form that doubles specialists Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty have had over the last year though is what made India's chances extremely strong at the best of five event.
"We decided to take it match by match but we knew we could win the gold. We said we believe that we can win and we will do everything that is required and I think that helped. You can see the results of that," said Srikanth.