Team India celebrates after winning the men’s finals against Indonesia at the BWF Thomas and Uber Cup Finals 2022 in Nonthaburi, Thailand.

India show Malaysia the ‘team spirit’ way

While local badminton fans and armchair critics continue to debate Malaysia’s missed opportunity at the recent Thomas Cup in Bangkok, many have failed to recognise or acknowledge the dynamics behind India’s historic feat in landing their maiden world men’s team crown.

Nobody expected the Indians to go all the way.

All eyes were instead on past champions Indonesia, Denmark, and even Malaysia, who had upset 2014 champions Japan 3-2 in the group stage.

There was pin-drop silence when former world No 1 K. Srikanth delivered the winning blow to dethrone 14-champions Indonesia 3-0 in the final at the Impact Arena on Sunday.

How did this happen?

“This might sound a little dramatic. But you know, when I was in Korea for the Korea Masters, and the following week we had selection trials… immediately after those trials, when the team got announced, we created a (Whatsapp) group titled ‘We’ll Bring It Home’, or something like that.

“This happened a week before the tournament started. So yeah… we always thought we were capable, but we only had to be consistent.

“Coming here, it was a fantastic team, and we had great atmosphere.

“We were a happy team, and we were really supporting each other and backing each other,” Srikanth told the Badminton World Federation (BWF).

Now compare this with Malaysia, who immediately started pointing fingers when they were knocked out by India in the quarter-finals.

Prior to the biennial meet, there were already reports of independent players crying foul for not making the cut or when Lee Zii Jia missed several days of centralised training to follow his own programme.

Do note that Zii Jia had his own independent support team in Bangkok, while the rest were under the care of the BA of Malaysia (BAM).

Yes, the team trained together and did everything else together, but how united were they as Malaysians?

The BWF, in their report, noted that ‘the wind in the team’s (India) sails was the bond between their members — seniors and juniors — and it created the energy needed to lift the players during critical periods.

Priyanshu Rajawat, the youngest members of the team, was instead given the honour of receiving the Thomas Cup on the podium said much about the bonds that had been forged.

Perhaps it is high time for Malaysia to stop living in the past of their 1992 glory, and to better acknowledge teams who have worked really hard to be deserving champions.

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