After plans are wrecked, Rexy says he made the best choice

Tougher than we thought: Goh Sze Fei-Nur Izzuddin Rumsani in action against Satwiksairaj Rankireddy-Chirag Shetty in the first doubles match. The Malaysians lost 19-21, 15-21. — Bernama

IT was a plan that backfired - but it did not have anything to do with the ego of the coach.

National doubles coaching director Rexy Mainaky said he had done what he thought was best at the time when naming his best line-up against India in the Thomas Cup quarter-finals.

He had considered a combination of many factors but somehow things did not fall into place and Malaysia are out of the Finals after losing 2-3 to India. It was Malaysia’s first defeat to India in 43 years in the team event.

“We had a chance but we did not capitalise on it,” admits Rexy, who had fielded the same line-up that beat giants Japan a day earlier.

“Naming the line-up is my responsibility. I discussed it with the players. I have spent the most time with the players, so I know them. I chose the same players because I wanted to keep the momentum going.

“It has nothing to do with one’s ego. I can’t say it’s a right or wrong decision but it was the best taken at that time.”

Rexy’s decision to field Goh Sze Fei-Nur Izzuddin Rumsani and scratch pair Aaron Chia-Teo Ee Yi received thunderous applause when both pairs delivered in Malaysia’s 3-2 win against Japan in the final group tie on Wednesday.

But that arrangement did not go smoothly in the ties against India. Sze Fei-Izzuddin missed the mark when they went down 19-21, 15-21 to Satwiksairaj Rankireddy-Chirag Shetty while Aaron-Ee Yi huffed and puffed to a 21-19, 21-17 victory over Krishna Prasad-Goud Panjala.

Lee Zii Jia, as usual, had been solid as a rock when he delivered the first point against Lakshya Sen, winning 23-21, 21-9 but the others singles – Ng Tze Yong and Leong Jun Hao - could not keep up with their more experienced opponents.

Tze Yong lost 11-21, 17-21 to K. Srikanth while Leong Jun Hao went down 13-21, 8-21 to H.S. Prannoy.

“If I had fielded the first-choice pair of Aaron and Soh Wooi Yik and they had lost, I would have been asked why I did not use Sze Fei and Izzuddin, who won against Japan. I believed at that time that Sze Fei-Izzuddin were on a roll and I wanted to ride on their winning momentum.

“Unfortunately, Sze Fei-Izzuddin set high expectations for themselves, and added unnecessary pressure, not from their opponents but on themselves. They could not deal with that.

“The pain of losing an important point in a big stage will teach them to be more driven.

“I was in the team that lost to Malaysia at the 1992 Thomas Cup Finals. It was a painful defeat but that motivated me to win the next four editions.

“It’s not only about one’s skills, techniques or the head-to-head records but how strong they are in their mind and heart. It’s about having that fighting spirit, no matter in what situation they are.

“This is what they will have to learn. Without fighting spirit, they will fail. The Koreans also lost but they gave a good fight to Denmark until the end.”

Rexy hopes his players will rebound quickly at the Thailand Open at the same venue next week.

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