Published: Tuesday May 20, 2014 MYT 4:48:00 PM
Updated: Tuesday May 20, 2014 MYT 9:21:13 PM

Soon Huat on standby for crunch tie against South Korea

NEW DELHI: Malaysia may take a risk and field untested rookie Goh Soon Huat as the third singles for the crucial Thomas Cup tie against South Korea on Wednesday.

The insipid performance of captain Liew Daren in the first two matches has raised doubts about his capability to shoulder the burden if it comes to the crunch.

The tie between Malaysia and South Korea will decide the winner of Group C and, judging by their previous meetings, should go down to the wire.

South Korea have been Malaysia’s bogey team in the past. But the side led by captain Wong Choong Hann managed to turn the tables in the 2006 edition in Japan, achieving a 3-2 win to reach the last four.

However, Malaysia do not have depth in the men’s singles and Lee Chong Wei is the only one who can be counted on for a point.

Chong Wei Feng has lived up well to his role as the second singles player by winning the two matches against India and Germany but the same cannot be said of Daren.

The skipper’s form has been inconsistent since winning the French Open in 2012 – no thanks to a series of injuries. This has resulted in him missing out on a place in the World Championships in Copenhagen in August.

The Thomas Cup campaign here has been nothing but a nightmare for Daren, who fell 21-18, 13-21, 19-21 to India’s R.M.V. Gurusaidutt and 20-22, 10-21 to Germany’s Lukas Schmidt.

Judging by Daren’s performances, there’s nothing wrong with the coaches taking a gamble on the young Soon Huat.

The 23-year-old Soon Huat has warmed the bench so far but indications are that he could be called up to replace Daren by Thomas-Uber Cup project squad leader Rashid Sidek.

“Everyone played okay except for Daren. I’m puzzled as to why he is not able to shine in a team event. The defeat against India may have affected him and he was not able to come out of it yesterday (against Germany),” said Rashid.

“He should not feel any pressure as Malaysia had already won the tie (against India and Germany).

“It is possible that Soon Huat may play the third singles ... anyway, a final decision will only be made after discussing with the other coaches.”

Tags / Keywords: Goh Soon Huat, Liew Daren, badminton, Thomas Cup, Lee Chong Wei


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