PETALING JAYA: National singles head coach Datuk Misbun Sidek is open to the idea of giving independent shuttlers a chance to represent Malaysia at the Thomas Cup Finals.
But this is not until all opportunities for his players under the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) to prove themselves are exhausted.
Misbun has a tricky task to choose four best players for the Finals in Bangkok, Thailand, from May 20-27.
The first three are likely to be Lee Chong Wei, Lee Zii Jia and Iskandar Zulkarnain Zainuddin but the challenge is naming the fourth.
He can pick one of these players – Soong Joo Ven, Leong Jun Hao, Lim Chi Wing and Cheam June Wei – but all are still inconsistent.
Independent shuttler Goh Giap Chin of New Vision Badminton Academy seems to be in better shape.
The former international reached the final of the Vietnam International Challenge in Hanoi last week to show he has the temperament and determination to play on the big stage.
Misbun said he still had a few tournaments to test his players.
“I’ve not considered an independent player yet but I’m not ruling out the option. Right now, I’m still giving our players a break,” said Misbun.
Since Misbun joined the BAM in September last year, there has been a significant improvement in the men’s singles department – in terms of results and also attitudes in training.
Zii Jia, Iskandar, Jun Hao, Chi Wing and June have shown progress in different degrees. Zii Jia and Iskandar have improved the most.
“Everyone is given special attention. They have different struggles, issues and goals. I’m happy to see the progress but none has made a breakthrough yet,” he said.
“It takes time but they are heading in the right direction. I’ll test these players in a few more international tournaments before I finalise the squad.
“If my players do not live up to my expectations, I’ll then look at players from outside. Ultimately, I want the best team to represent Malaysia.”
Except for Chong Wei, all others will compete at the China Masters in Ling Shui from April 10-15 and Malaysia International Challenge in Kuala Lumpur from April 17-22.
Chong Wei left yesterday for the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia, starting from April 4-15.