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NST Online: Sports

Duo's fate in their own hands

Posted: 03 May 2011 10:51 AM PDT

Reports by K.M. Boopathy

 Tan Boon Heong-Koo Kien Keat's (right) performances are very inconsistent.

Tan Boon Heong-Koo Kien Keat's (right) performances are very inconsistent.

KOO Kien Keat-Tan Boon Heong are the most erratic pair among the world's top five, and national doubles coach Rexy Mainaky believes only they can safeguard their careers.

Kien Keat-Boon Heong have gone 15 months without a major title since winning the 2010 Malaysia Open, with the Commonwealth Games gold in New Delhi in September being their last big win on the international stage.

Their most recent failure was in the India Open where Kien Keat-Boon Heong suffered a shock defeat to eventual champions Hirokatu Hashimoto-Noriyasu Hirata of Japan in the semi-finals on Saturday.

Rexy, though by now used to the pair's inconsistency, said they should learn from other top combinations who have been winning regularly despite stiff competition on the world stage.

"It is hard to explain why Kien Keat-Boon Heong's performances are very inconsistent. There is nothing wrong with their skills, so maybe they should have another hard look at themselves to see if they still have that hunger to win," said Rexy.

"The other top pairs are not like this. If they get a chance to win when the opposition is not that strong, they will take it.

"Cai Yun-Fu Haifeng (of China) won the Asian Championships two weeks ago after Markis Kido-Hendra Setiawan of Indonesia lost early. Other pairs like Mathias Boe-Carsten Mogensen (of Denmark) and Jung Jae Sung-Lee Yong Dae (of South Korea) have always won when they were the top pair in a tournament.

"However, Kien Keat-Boon Heong are now struggling to win tournaments where no other top five pairs are competing in and this is not a good sign.

"They must ask themselves what do they really want to achieve and whether or not they are willing to give to achieve their goals.

"We (coaches) have done everything possible to help them improve, so they must start performing on court. This is something we can't teach and has to come from them."

Kien Keat-Boon Heong will play another Japanese pair, Yoshiteru Hirobe-Kenta Kazuno, in the first round of the Malaysia Open Grand Prix Gold, and cannot afford another slip-up.

Tougher opposition await them with Markis-Hendra also aiming to end their poor run after losing in the quarter-finals of the Asian Championships and the India Open.

It is hard to predict if Kien Keat-Boon Heong can secure the crown in Alor Star but it's about time they produced something worthwhile to regain their pride and confidence.

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Tillakaratne to spill the beans

Posted: 03 May 2011 09:14 AM PDT

COLOMBO: Former Sri Lanka test captain Hashan Tillakaratne (pic) said yesterday he will tell the International Cricket Council that matches were fixed during his career.

Tillakaratne, a politician in Sri Lanka's opposition, said he will reveal the names of those involved in fixing matches "at the appropriate time."

Tillakaratne told a television programme earlier this month that match-fixing has been rampant in Sri Lanka since 1992, then yesterday made a statement reaffirming his allegations to the Western Provincial Council, where he is elected to office.

"I made a statement to the provincial council, I said that I still maintain my stand on the (match fixing) allegations," said Tillakaratne, who declined to reveal the names of those involved following legal advise.

"After I came out with these allegations I have been getting a lot of nuisance calls, death threats, but definitely I will expose all those who are involved in a time to come," he said.

When asked why he has not followed the established procedure of working with the ICC's anti-corruption unit, Tillakaratne said "I will do that in the days to come."

Sri Lanka Cricket expressed concern over the allegations and called for "concrete evidence" to substantiate them.

"We also wish to state that we find it extremely strange that these so called "revelations" are being made so many years after the alleged misdeeds," the national cricket board said in a statement yesterday.

Sri Lanka Cricket said it had discussed the matter with Sports Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage, who has ordered a police inquiry into the allegations.

Tillakaratne said he has been reluctant voice his allegations previously for fear of his safety.

Several international players including South Africa's Hansie Cronje, India's Mohammad Azharuddin and Ajay Jadeja, and Pakistan's Salim Malik have been found guilty of match-fixing and served bans in the past decade. No Sri Lankan player has yet been seriously investigated.

Most recently, Pakistani players Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir received bans of five years or more earlier this year after being found guilty by the ICC for bowling no-balls at pre-determined times in a test last year against England to fix spot-betting markets.

Tillakaratne played 83 tests for Sri Lanka from 1989 to 2004, scoring 4,545 runs with 11 centuries. He scored 3,789 one-day runs from 200 matches between 1986 and 2003. He was also a member of the country's only World Cup-winning team in 1996. -- AP

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