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Men's doubles quandary

Posted: 02 May 2011 10:06 AM PDT

Reports by K.M. Boopathy

Rexy Mainaky (left) says Zakry Latif-Hoon Thien How have performed well in patches.

Rexy Mainaky (left) says Zakry Latif-Hoon Thien How have performed well in patches.

THE BA of Malaysia (BAM) and national coach Rexy Mainaky are still undecided on the second men's doubles to the World Championships as four pairs, including professionals Gan Teik Chai-Tan Bin Shen, are in the running for the event in London on Aug 8-14.

World No 4 Koo Kien Keat-Tan Boon Heong have confirmed their berth while Malaysia can name another pair from the top 150 bracket which means Teik Chai-Bin Shen (World No 16), Fairuzizuan Tazari-Ong Soon Hock (27), Zakry Latif-Hoon Thien How (32) and new combination Goh Wei Shem-Lim Khim Wah (97), are all in the running.

There's very little to separate Fairuz-Soon Hock and Zakry-Thien How while Wei Shem-Khim Wah have come into the equation as they have potential and are also the youngest at 23.

On merit, Teik Chai-Bin Shen should get the nod but it's BAM's decision and it may opt for a pair with the national squad.

"It's a hard decision as several factors have to be taken into consideration. Fairuz-Soon Hock and Zakry-Thien How have performed well in patches and the World Championships could be their ticket to better things. Also, we cannot ignore Wei Shem-Khim Wah's potential," said Rexy.

"Fairuz-Soon Hock have beaten some good pairs while Zakry-Thien How did well in the All England and cannot be completely overlooked.

"Wei Shem-Khim Wah are a good option for the future. They have only played two tournaments so it's too early to judge them. There is also the risk of them meeting a top four pair in the first or second round as their world ranking is very low.

"I have to sit with Tan Kim Her on his return from the India Open and also speak to the BAM management before identifying the second pair. As far as Teik Chai-Bin Shen are concerned, I leave it to BAM to make the call as they are independent players."

BAM secretary Ng Chin Chai, who is also the coaching and training committee chairman, has spoken about Wei Shem-Khim Wah's potential but it may prove premature to allow them to play in a major event after playing in just two tournaments.

Fairuz-Soon Hock and Zakry-Thien How have been inconsistent and their progress has been slow despite partnering each other for almost a year.

Teik Chai-Bin Shen have played in more tournaments and the fact that they lost in the second round of the World Championships in Paris last year could work against them.

The Malaysia Open Grand Prix Gold may also be used as a yardstick as all four pairs are competing in the event which starts in Alor Star today. .

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Sangakkara questions Tillakaratne fix claims

Posted: 02 May 2011 08:27 AM PDT

NEW DELHI: Sri Lanka's World Cup captain Kumar Sangakkara has challenged former skipper Hashan Tillakaratne to prove his recent allegations of rampant match-fixing, it was report yesterday.

"Hashan has played the game for years and he's captained Sri Lanka as well. So it's interesting to see what he has to say and if he has anything more than allegations," Sangakkara was quoted as saying by the Press Trust of India news agency.

Tillakaratne, who played 83 tests and 200 one-dayers during a 15-year career, claimed last week that Sri Lanka players had been involved in match-fixing since 1992 and added that he was prepared to name some of them.

Sangakkara, captain of the Deccan Chargers franchise in the Indian Premier League, said Tillakaratne should work with the International Cricket Council if there was any basis to his allegations.

"It's dangerous to throw names around," said Sangakkara, who quit as captain after Sri Lanka's defeat to India in the World Cup final last month.

"He should work very closely with the ACSU (Anti-corruption and Security Unit) of the ICC and the home authorities to ensure that something's done about it if there is any foundation to those claims.

"But beyond that I don't think it makes any big sense to the players playing now."

Tillakaratne's comments came as the sport tries to emerge from last year's spot-fixing scandal involving some of the top Pakistan players.

He had stopped short of suggesting the World Cup final was rigged although he expressed reservations about the selection of the Sri Lankan team. -- AFP

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