Liew Daren

Daren the player, not the coach, in Bangkok

DESPITE his many hats, veteran shuttler Liew Daren has assured that he will only put on one at the Thomas Cup in Bangkok next week.

The 35-year-old, unlike the rest, is not just another member of the Malaysian squad. Daren is also the assistant coach for world No 6 Lee Zii Jia.

The world No 34 is the only player in the team who has played in a Thomas Cup final as a member of the 2014 squad.

Daren, who could have clinched the title as the third singles in 2014, said: “I will not be so much a coach, but just a regular teammate to Zii Jia in Bangkok.

“Coaching duties will be left to coach Indra Wijaya.

“It has also been eight years since the last time I played in the Thomas Cup. I can’t really remember much to make any comparisons, but I can sense that this team is a little more closer.”

Daren, however, reiterated that Zii Jia should not be compared to former world No 1 Lee Chong Wei.

Having played alongside the retired star in New Delhi, when Malaysia reached the final eight years ago, Daren added: “Chong Wei had already achieved so much at that time, while Zii Jia is on his way up. You cannot compare them.”

Meanwhile, Daren noted that the last-minute withdrawal of New Zealand from the Thomas Cup will have very little impact on the Malaysian team’s preparation. Yesterday, the Badminton World Federation (BWF) confirmed that the United States have replaced New Zealand in Group D.

“It will not affect our preparations. In fact, we started training on Tuesday immediately after arriving from Manila,” said Daren.

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