James: Work on singles if we want to win Thomas Cup

Huge challenge: Lee Zii Jia is unpredictable and is still searching for consistency, says Datuk James Selvaraj.

PETALING JAYA: Singles will be key for Malaysia if they harbour hopes of winning the Thomas Cup Finals from April 27-May 5 in Chengdu.

Former great Datuk James Selvaraj believes that Asia Team Championships winners China, defending champions India and Denmark have more balanced teams than Malaysia and will be among the favourites for the title.

“China and India have balanced teams with strong singles and doubles players,” said James.

“China have strong depth while India have many experienced and also young, talented singles players and a strong doubles pair (world No. 1 Satwiksairaj Rankireddy-Chirag Shetty).

“Another team to watch out for are Denmark. They have world No. 1 Viktor Axelsen, world No. 3 Anders Antonsen and doubles pair Kim Astrup-Anders Skaarup Rasmussen (No. 4).”

James though is worried about Malaysia’s prospects especially in the singles with the country’s No. 2 Ng Tze Yong facing a tough battle to qualify for the Paris Olympics after undergoing back surgery recently and No. 1 Lee Zii Jia still searching for consistency.

“I don’t think Tze Yong can recover so quickly as back injuries are quite serious,” said James.

“As for Zii Jia, he remains unpredictable. He can beat top players but also lose to lower ranked opponents.

“We have good doubles pairs like Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik, Ong Yew Sin-Teo Ee Yi and Goh Sze Fei-Nur Izzuddin Rumsani, who are all capable of contributing points for the team.

“It’s possible for us to get two points from the doubles but we need at least one from our singles players as well,” added James.

The other teams who have qualified for the Thomas Cup are Indonesia, Japan, Taiwan, South Korea, France, Thailand, Canada, Hong Kong, Germany, England, Algeria and Australia. Thomas Cup Finals: China, Denmark, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, India, Taiwan, South Korea, France, Thailand, Canada, Hong Kong, Germany, England, Algeria, Australia.

Uber Cup Finals: China, South Korea, Japan, Thailand, Indonesia, Taiwan, India, Denmark, United States, Malaysia, Canada, Spain, France, Australia, Scotland, South Africa

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