National singles coach Datuk Misbun Sidek believes shuttler Iskandar Zulkarnain Zainuddin can only get better after his encouraging performance in India Open in New Delhi which ended on Sunday.
Iskandar, the world No.86, who made to his first semi-finals appearance since the China Open 2016, showed some of his badminton brillaince before bowing out in style to world No.8 Shi Yuqi of China 21-18, 10-21, 19-21.
Misbun admitted that Iskandar is a transformed player and was impressed with the player’s “never say die and never give up” after a one hour practice session at the Sultan Abdul Hamid Stadium in Alor Setar for the E-Plus Badminton Asia Team Championships which begin on Tuesday.
“As a coach my job is to help groom and shape up players and most importantly the players are willing to learn,” said Misbun.
The difference in training is that they (the players) have been given a module in training that suits the player’s character. At the same time a player must feel the hunger to achieve success.
As you could see just how Iskandar was willing to train. He fought for every point and did not give up so easily, knowing that every point won is precious.
Misbun is encouraged by Iskandar’s turnaround after wanting to the quit the game at one stage due to defeats and injuries.
I think Iskandar has learnt to accept that he needs to put his dedication to his training regime,” added Misbun.
However, Misbun will be keeping his fingers crossed that he gets the right combination to advance into the semi-final stages in the Asian Championships which also doubles up as the qualifier for the Thomas Cup Finals in Bangkok, Thailand in May.
“We have a balanced squad in terms of age but with different level of experiences. I hope I can come up with a good squad to compete tomorrow(Tuesday) when we face Thailand in the opening match. If we play well the results will show automatically.
Malaysia will have their first assignment on Tuesday in their opening Group C match.
The top two teams will advance into the quarter-finals which will be decided by a new draw. BY ALVIN OH KAI ZEN