ARIF Latif is not interested with simply being a reserve.
If need be, the 19-year-old believes he is good enough to deliver a point for Malaysia in the Thomas Cup Finals in Jakarta on May 11-18.
"I'm confident of playing as the third singles. I'm ready to shoulder responsibility and deliver even if it is a crucial tie where I'm in a must-win situation, said an up-beat Arif." Arif, who is in the 2010-2012 Project squad, is making his debut in the Thomas Cup Finals, but his inclusion came as a surprise to many badminton enthusiasts considering there are several more experienced shuttlers in the country.
In the Asian Zone Qualifier in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam in February, Arif Latif played the opening match against Cambodia as a third singles player, which he won.
"Some (players) may feel comfortable as a reserve but it will be depressing if I don't get a chance to see action in Jakarta. However, I would not be upset if I don't get to play as there are better shuttlers in the team," added Ariff, who is ranked World No 76.
"Besides that, national pride is at stake in the Thomas Cup and only the best and those in-form should play." Arif's rise in the sport has been exceptional off late.
Included in his performances at the senior level were winning the Iran Fajr Open in Teheran in February and reaching the second round of the recent Asian Championships.
Meanwhile, Penang's Tee Jing Yi, also a surprise inclusion, hopes to play at least a small role in helping the team in the Uber Cup Finals.
The 17-year-old, ranked World No 167, won the recent Malaysian Schools Sports Council (MSSM) Under-18 women's singles title on Saturday.