KUALA LUMPUR: All the top national back-up players, spearheaded by Iskandar Zulkarnain Zainuddin, will get a taste of what it’ll take to play in the Thomas Cup Finals when they compete in Indonesia’s Djarum Super League in Surabaya.
The league began on Monday but the Malaysian Tigers will only go into action on Tuesday in the one-week team competition that offers 1bil rupiah (RM278,009) in total prize money.
Besides Iskandar, those representing Malaysian Tigers are Goh Soon Huat, Chong Yee Han, Tan Kian Meng, Teo Ee Yi-Nelson Heg Wei Keat, Chooi Kah Ming-Ow Yao Han and Low Juan Seng.
Malaysia have withdrawn doubles shuttler Teo Kok Siang, who fractured his hand during a road accident on the eve of Chinese New Year.
National coach Rosman Razak said that the competition will be like the Thomas Cup Finals – well, at least for the Malaysian back-up players.
The Thomas Cup Finals will be held in New Delhi in May and Malaysia are searching for at least one more men’s singles shuttler to join Lee Chong Wei, Chong Wei Feng and Liew Daren.
The selectors may also name a back-up doubles pair as reserves.
“This is a great platform for our back-up shuttlers to test their strength in a team environment. Many top players from other countries will be representing different clubs ... it will be challenging for them,” said Rosman.
“We have nine players in the team following Kok Siang’s absence. He met with an accident before the Chinese New Year. We did not get anyone to replace him here.
“It will be difficult for us to finish among the top two teams in this league but I believe the experience will be invaluable for the team.”
A total of 10 men and 10 women’s teams will battle it out for honours in the Super League.
Some of the top men players featuring in the league are Indonesia’s Tommy Sugiarto, Simon Santoso; Japan’s Kenichi Tago; South Korea’s Lee Hyun-il; Germany’s Marc Zwiebler; and Vietnam’s Nguyen Tien Minh.
The top men’s doubles players are reigning champions Mohd Ahsan-Hendra Setiawan of Indonesia.
World No. 1 Chong Wei has also been registered under the Musica Flypower Champion team but it’s not certain if he will take part.