LUCKNOW, Feb. 13 -- Three years ago, Kidambi Srikanth and Indonesian coach Mulyo Handoyo struck a partnership that led the Indian shuttler to the pinnacle of badminton. In a blistering run, Srikanth reached the finals of five Superseries events in a year, winning four of them, and losing only to compatriot B Sai Praneeth, who also trained under Handoyo. Srikanth briefly became the world No.1, only the second Indian male after Prakash Padukone to achieve the feat.

But the victories dried up ever since the Indonesian, who guided the legendary Taufik Hidayat to the 2004 Athens Olympics gold, left Indian shores at the end of 2017 following a nine-month stint.

In the post-Handoyo period, the Andhra shuttler only managed to reach two finals-the...