Since finishing in the semi-final of the China Open in early November, they have suffered first round exits in four tournaments on the trot but they remain in the rankings for the Tokyo Olympics. Pairs that finish in the top eight of the rankings by the cut-off date of April 28 qualify for the marquee event.
It means that the pair can take time off the tour and play the Premier Badminton League, unlike other prospects who now face an uphill battle to secure qualification. Chirag will be playing for the Pune 7Aces while Satwik has a match under his belt with the Chennai Superstarz. "The past year has been pretty good," Chirag told IANS. Chirag said that his off court equation with Satwik does play a role in their partnership on court.
"The camaraderie that we share off the court is pretty amazing and that's really helpful on the court as well. I'm sure that if we want to achieve big things on the court then you have to be good friends off the court," he said.
National doubles coach Flandy Limpele had spoken about the need for the pair to improve their defence and Chirag said that this has been the focus for them over the past four months. The 22-year-old will be playing with Indonesian Beijing Olympic gold medallist Hendra Setiawan in men's doubles for the 7Aces and hopes to learn from him and team captain Chris Adcock of England.
"PBL will help me in this because they are pretty experienced players and I do get to learn a lot from them," he said.
"At the national camp we have been working with Flandy Limpele for over a year now. Our primary focus has been to improve our defence. Our attacking game is otherwise pretty good.
"Hendra and Chris they have been playing at the highest level for almost 10-12 years now. They come in with a lot of experience. In all the seasons of PBL that I have played, the foreign players have certainly helped me improve my game. We get to try different styles with them which we may not get in the national camp. A lot of new things. So it is pretty good for Indian players."
The pair are looking not to burden themselves with too many tournaments in the Olympic year. They will next be playing at the Badminton Asian Team Championships after the PBL which will be held from February 11 to 16 in Manila.
For now, however, Chirag is looking to do well in the PBL, where he will face Satwik when the 7Aces play Chennai Superstarz on January 30 in Hyderabad.
"We have pretty much secured our place for the Olympics so now it is more about improving ourselves instead of focussing on the rankings. The primary target is to enter the top eight but for now I think the first target really is to perform well at the PBL. The next 15-20 days will be a lot of fun and I will also learn a lot," he said.
(Rohit Mundayur can be contacted on email@example.com)