Kuala Lumpur: Malaysia’s men’s singles chief coach, Misbun Sidek is expected to play Iskandar Zulkarnain as the third men’s singles player ahead of the 2018 Badminton Asia Team Championships opening tie against Thailand on Tuesday although Zulkarnain had just arrived from India Monday morning.
Sidek told reporters that has yet to make a final decision on who would be getting the third men’s singles spot for the tie against Thailand that will be held at the Sultan Abdul Halim Stadium at 7pm Malaysian time on Tuesday, he seemed to have given an early sign that he would play Iskandar Zulkarnain.
“Iskandar’s performance is getting better and I’m really hoping that he can get his rhythm going, maybe we are going to play him on Tuesday, but I have not make up my mind yet,” said Sidek.
Zulkarnain was at his imperious run of form last week as he swept aside World No. 5 Kidambi Srikanth of India at the India Open second round last Thursday, defeated defending champion Sameer Verma in the India Open quarter-finals, and his semi-final clash with the eventual men’s champion Shi Yuqi went down to wire before losing 21-18, 10-21, 19-21.
“I see all three men’s singles players are important for the team’s potential victory against Thailand, because we have 50-50 chance for the opening tie,” added Sidek.
Malaysia will probably field Lee Chong Wei and Lee Zii Jia for the first and second men’s singles, but it remains to be seen whether Sidek will place either Iskandar Zulkarnain or Soong Joo Ven as the third men’s singles could play an important role in the event of a 2-2 tie.
Besides Thailand, Malaysia was also drawn with Taiwan and Myanmar in Group C of the Badminton Asia Team Championships.