The win over PV Sindhu showed that Saina Nehwal is ready to take on the world again

The Nationals have no BWF ranking points but the confidence boost that Nehwal would have gotten from this win will go a long way.

Nagpur: From the day it started, the 82nd Senior National Badminton championship was building momentum towards the high profile clash between PV Sindhu and Saina Nehwal and the organisers were clearly looking at it to be the grand finale of a highly successful event.

The build-up had reached a crescendo by the time the two girls actually took to the court on Wednesday evening with about 5000-odd spectators chanting their names and another 1000-1500 people standing outside the Mankapur Sports Complex hoping to get into the already packed stadium.

And to their delight, Nehwal and Sindhu came up with probably their best match against each other so far.

The pressure was always going to be on Nehwal, given that Sindhu had recently won the World Championship silver and the Korea Superseries to climb to world number 2 ranking while the former world number one was still looking for her best form after returning from the knee injury in 2016.

The last two times the two had faced each other in the Premier Badminton League and the India Superseries, Nehwal was clearly playing catch up. But Wednesday was different.

Since shifting her base back from Bengaluru to Hyderabad, Nehwal had started to look more comfortable with her movements and the improved stamina was showing in international tournaments too. This meant that both players would start on an equal footing and those who know the 27-year-old would have vouched for her ability to come out all guns blazing.

The situation was similar to their first competitive meeting in the 2013 Indian Badminton League when talk of the emerging talent of Sindhu, who had become the first Indian women’s singles player to win a world championship bronze, and the waning powers of Nehwal were doing the rounds. But the 2012 London Olympics bronze medallist had then set the record straight with a comfortable win.

The only difference this time around was that Sindhu is clearly the top Indian player now and Saina, the challenger.

As far as the crowd was concerned, there was no clear favourites as they cheered for both the players with the same enthusiasm but it was important for both the players to get off the starting blocks quickly after having waited for over an hour to get on the court beyond the scheduled time due to the closing ceremony and speeches by politicians.

Both players know each others game in great detail and the strategy as such was clear. While Nehwal was obviously going to engage Sindhu in long rallies before employing those powerful smashes, the latter focused on exploiting her opponent’s weakness in reaching shuttles in the forecourt.

Both of them managed to successfully execute their plans in the initial exchanges but once their engines were properly warmed up, the rallies got a little longer and Nehwal began to show her prowess.

The world number 11 controlled the tempo of the rallies brilliantly and did not allow Sindhu to come under the shuttle often enough to plays those jump smashes or sharp drops. And even if she did, the 27-year-old had the power and the speed in her legs to retrieve.

The last 10-12 points which also saw Sindhu save five match points before succumbing to the tactics applied by her opponent probably summed up the entire encounter. Nehwal would pile on the pressure on her younger opponent with her precision play while the world number 2 was willing to push herself to the last ounce to turn the rally around.

She was successful on five occasions as Nehwal would ultimately make an error and allow Sindhu an opportunity to look for those elusive two straight point to take the match in the decider.

That, though, did not happen.

The match ended after the longest rally of the match with Nehwal retrieving everything thrown at her before turning things around and finishing the rally with her trademark smash.

The 2017 world championship bronze medallist played it cool in the post-match presentation but her words showed that she was under a fair bit of pressure.

It is no secret that Nehwal probably needed this victory more. She wanted to prove to herself that her decision to move back to Gopichand Academy was a step in right direction and to show to her detractors that she still has a few years at the highest level.

To her credit, Nehwal showed the grit and determination to grind out points when under pressure and the tactical acumen to go for the kill at the right time to lay hands on her third National title, exactly a decade after she won her second.

The Nationals have no points that go towards improving a player’s BWF ranking but the confidence boost that Nehwal would have gotten from this win will go a long way towards helping her making rapid strides in international badminton once again.

We welcome your comments at
Sponsored Content BY 

Behind the garb of wealth and success, white collar criminals are hiding in plain sight

Understanding the forces that motivate leaders to become fraudsters.

Most con artists are very easy to like; the ones that belong to the corporate society, even more so. The Jordan Belforts of the world are confident, sharp and can smooth-talk their way into convincing people to bend at their will. For years, Harshad Mehta, a practiced con-artist, employed all-of-the-above to earn the sobriquet “big bull” on Dalaal Street. In 1992, the stockbroker used the pump and dump technique, explained later, to falsely inflate the Sensex from 1,194 points to 4,467. It was only after the scam that journalist Sucheta Dalal, acting on a tip-off, broke the story exposing how he fraudulently dipped into the banking system to finance a boom that manipulated the stock market.


In her book ‘The confidence game’, Maria Konnikova observes that con artists are expert storytellers - “When a story is plausible, we often assume it’s true.” Harshad Mehta’s story was an endearing rags-to-riches tale in which an insurance agent turned stockbroker flourished based on his skill and knowledge of the market. For years, he gave hope to marketmen that they too could one day live in a 15,000 sq.ft. posh apartment with a swimming pool in upmarket Worli.

One such marketman was Ketan Parekh who took over Dalaal Street after the arrest of Harshad Mehta. Ketan Parekh kept a low profile and broke character only to celebrate milestones such as reaching Rs. 100 crore in net worth, for which he threw a lavish bash with a star-studded guest-list to show off his wealth and connections. Ketan Parekh, a trainee in Harshad Mehta’s company, used the same infamous pump-and-dump scheme to make his riches. In that, he first used false bank documents to buy high stakes in shares that would inflate the stock prices of certain companies. The rise in stock prices lured in other institutional investors, further increasing the price of the stock. Once the price was high, Ketan dumped these stocks making huge profits and causing the stock market to take a tumble since it was propped up on misleading share prices. Ketan Parekh was later implicated in the 2001 securities scam and is serving a 14-years SEBI ban. The tactics employed by Harshad Mehta and Ketan Parekh were similar, in that they found a loophole in the system and took advantage of it to accumulate an obscene amount of wealth.


Call it greed, addiction or smarts, the 1992 and 2001 Securities Scams, for the first time, revealed the magnitude of white collar crimes in India. To fill the gaps exposed through these scams, the Securities Laws Act 1995 widened SEBI’s jurisdiction and allowed it to regulate depositories, FIIs, venture capital funds and credit-rating agencies. SEBI further received greater autonomy to penalise capital market violations with a fine of Rs 10 lakhs.

Despite an empowered regulatory body, the next white-collar crime struck India’s capital market with a massive blow. In a confession letter, Ramalinga Raju, ex-chairman of Satyam Computers convicted of criminal conspiracy and financial fraud, disclosed that Satyam’s balance sheets were cooked up to show an excess of revenues amounting to Rs. 7,000 crore. This accounting fraud allowed the chairman to keep the share prices of the company high. The deception, once revealed to unsuspecting board members and shareholders, made the company’s stock prices crash, with the investors losing as much as Rs. 14,000 crores. The crash of India’s fourth largest software services company is often likened to the bankruptcy of Enron - both companies achieved dizzying heights but collapsed to the ground taking their shareholders with them. Ramalinga Raju wrote in his letter “it was like riding a tiger, not knowing how to get off without being eaten”, implying that even after the realisation of consequences of the crime, it was impossible for him to rectify it.

It is theorised that white-collar crimes like these are highly rationalised. The motivation for the crime can be linked to the strain theory developed by Robert K Merton who stated that society puts pressure on individuals to achieve socially accepted goals (the importance of money, social status etc.). Not having the means to achieve those goals leads individuals to commit crimes.

Take the case of the executive who spent nine years in McKinsey as managing director and thereafter on the corporate and non-profit boards of Goldman Sachs, Procter & Gamble, American Airlines, and Harvard Business School. Rajat Gupta was a figure of success. Furthermore, his commitment to philanthropy added an additional layer of credibility to his image. He created the American India Foundation which brought in millions of dollars in philanthropic contributions from NRIs to development programs across the country. Rajat Gupta’s descent started during the investigation on Raj Rajaratnam, a Sri-Lankan hedge fund manager accused of insider trading. Convicted for leaking confidential information about Warren Buffet’s sizeable investment plans for Goldman Sachs to Raj Rajaratnam, Rajat Gupta was found guilty of conspiracy and three counts of securities fraud. Safe to say, Mr. Gupta’s philanthropic work did not sway the jury.


The people discussed above have one thing in common - each one of them was well respected and celebrated for their industry prowess and social standing, but got sucked down a path of non-violent crime. The question remains - Why are individuals at successful positions willing to risk it all? The book Why They Do It: Inside the mind of the White-Collar Criminal based on a research by Eugene Soltes reveals a startling insight. Soltes spoke to fifty white collar criminals to understand their motivations behind the crimes. Like most of us, Soltes expected the workings of a calculated and greedy mind behind the crimes, something that could separate them from regular people. However, the results were surprisingly unnerving. According to the research, most of the executives who committed crimes made decisions the way we all do–on the basis of their intuitions and gut feelings. They often didn’t realise the consequences of their action and got caught in the flow of making more money.


The arena of white collar crimes is full of commanding players with large and complex personalities. Billions, starring Damien Lewis and Paul Giamatti, captures the undercurrents of Wall Street and delivers a high-octane ‘ruthless attorney vs wealthy kingpin’ drama. The show looks at the fine line between success and fraud in the stock market. Bobby Axelrod, the hedge fund kingpin, skilfully walks on this fine line like a tightrope walker, making it difficult for Chuck Rhoades, a US attorney, to build a case against him.

If financial drama is your thing, then block your weekend for Billions. You can catch it on Hotstar Premium, a platform that offers a wide collection of popular and Emmy-winning shows such as Game of Thrones, Modern Family and This Is Us, in addition to live sports coverage, and movies. To subscribe, click here.

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Hotstar and not by the Scroll editorial team.