In a bid to give the domestic circuit a much-needed push and get the second rung of Indian badminton to play in domestic tournaments, the Badminton Association of India has decided to alter its calendar and organise two senior ranking competitions as selection events for the Asian Games in August.

The two tournaments will be held in Bengaluru (June 12-17) and Hyderabad (June 19-24). India’s top shuttlers have been exempted from participation, but all other players would have to play in these two tournaments to be eligible for selection for the 2018 Asian Games. Both tournaments have been allotted prize money of Rs 5 lakh each.

The players exempted from participating in the two tournaments include Saina Nehwal and PV Sindhu (women’s singles); K Srikanth, HS Prannoy, B Sai Praneeth, Sameer Verma (men’s singles); Chirag Shetty/Satwiksairaj Rankireddy (men’s doubles); Ashwini Ponnappa/N Sikki Reddy (women’s doubles); and Satwik/Ponnappa and Pranaav Jerry Chopra/Sikki (mixed doubles).

“These tournaments are being organised to give the selectors a chance to see the players in action head-to-head and give them for parameters to judge them rather than just their rankings,” said Anup Narang, the official spokesperson of BAI.

“What was happening earlier was there was a lot of confusion over the selection criteria for tournaments, so the BAI is considering hosting such selection tournaments for all future big international competitions,” he added.

The BAI is also setting up a five-member committee to review the selection criteria, according to sources. Currently, the selection criteria for the senior Indian badminton team is as follows:

a) Current world ranking

b) Current Performance of the players in domestic and international tournaments

c) Head-to-head results during last six months

d) Physical fitness of the players

e) Consistency of players’ performance during the last six months

f) Attendance in national coaching camp and discipline

g) Participation of players in National Championship

As a first step towards rewarding domestic performance, the BAI selection committee picked two top-ranked women’s singles players in the Uber Cup squad earlier this month – Anura Prabhudesai and Vaishnavi Bhale, currently placed first and second in the All India women’s singles rankings.

However, no such criteria was followed for the men’s team selection for the Thomas Cup 2018, where the top two players in the All India rankings – Pratul Joshi and Mithun Manjunath – were overlooked for junior world No 4 Lakshya Sen.

The selectors picked a depleted squad for the Thomas & Uber Cup Finals, with top stars such as PV Sindhu, K Srikanth and Ashwini Ponnappa given rest.