Mohd Nur Aiman was one of the more experienced national bowlers to miss the cut for the elite squad after a greulling 72-game roll off which ended recently. - Filepic
PETALING JAYA: The recent roll-off to pick bowlers for the national elite team saw several seasoned campaigners falling by the wayside.
Muhd Nur Aiman Khairuddin, Isaac Russell Paul, Zandra Aziela Ibrahim Hakimi and Sharon Koh – all members of the elite squad before the roll-off – will have to wait until Wednesday (Jan 15) to know their fate in the national team.
Aiman, even expressed his disappointment on Facebook with a posting on his page that read “Boleh gantung kat dinding rumah or kasi frame” (Can now be hanged on the wall or put in a frame) alongside a picture of his national jersey, indicating that he might quit the sport.
It was a gruelling six days for 43 bowlers invited for the roll-off which began on Jan 2. They played two blocks of six games per day for six days and a total of 72 games. A point is awarded for the top six finishers in each block.
Some could not cope with the immense number of games and succumbed to injuries while some pulled out due to poor form.
Only 16 places – eight men and eight women – were available for the elite squad.
Mohd Syafiq Ridhwan Abdul Malek, Adrian Ang, Alex Liew, Timmy Tan, Syimir Abdul Razak, Jonathan Ding Sagan, Zulmazran Zulkifli and Mohd Rafiq Ismail finished in the top eight in the men’s section.
Sin Li Jane, Esther Cheah, Syaidatul Afifah Badrul Hamidi, Shalin Zulkifli, Natasha Roslan, Radin Nur Najwa Arifah Radin Dzulfakar, Jacqueline Jenelee Sijore and Siti Safiyah Amirah Abdul Rahman were the top eight women bowlers.
National chief coach Holloway Cheah already indicated that he had no qualms coaching whoever is selected for the elite squad.
“When the decision is made, I will coach whoever is picked for the team … no question about it,” he said.
Jonathan of Sarawak was the only surprise qualifier in the men’s squad. He was the silver medallist in the Asian Youth Championships in Hong Kong last September.
In the women’s section, Syaidatul, who finished third in the Penang Pesta Open last month, also made the cut alongside Radin Nur Najwa who finished fourth.
The biggest surprise came from Natasha Roslan. The former national youth trainee who won the Malaysian Open title in 2012 was invited for the roll-off even though she was no longer in the national camp.
It may a new-look elite squad but one thing is certain – they are expected to hit the golden trail in the Incheon Asian Games in South Korea come September.