The Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) picked a few surprise names to represent the country at the 2018 Thomas and Uber Cup in a press conference on Thursday.
Several shuttlers who played at last February's Badminton Asia Team Championship, which served as a qualifying stage for the 2018 Thomas and Uber Cup, were dropped for the upcoming tournament taking place in Bangkok, Thailand, from May 20 to 27.
Asian junior champion Leong Jun Hao replaced Soong Joo Ven to take part in the men's singles challenge alongside Lee Chong Wei, Iskandar Zulkarnain, and Lee Zii Jia, while the top four Malaysian women's singles players of Soniia Cheah, Goh Jin Wei, Lee Ying Ying and S. Kisona made the cut as expected.
The biggest surprise came from the doubles selection as Goh V Shem and Tan Wee Kiong were arguably the only recognised Malaysian pair.
Teo Ee Yi was separated from regular partner Ong Yew Sin to be paired with Arif Abdul Latif, and Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik took up Goh Sze Fei-Nur Izzuddin Rumsani's spot for the Thomas Cup.
28-year-old Arif, in particular, just rejoined the national set-up after leaving the BAM in 2013 and spent most of his career as a singles' player.
For the Uber Cup's doubles action, Vivian Hoo, Chow Mei Kuan, Lee Meng Yean, Goh Yea Ching, Soong Fie Cho and Tee Jing Yi were named but no pairs were confirmed.
"The rationale behind the selection is based on their latest performances," said BAM president Norza Zakaria.
"We also want to expose our new talent, especially Aaron and Soh, and put together scratch pairs in terms of strategy.
"We are going for characters and personalities as we want players who have the hunger and self-belief to fight whomever they will face.
"We have to be more creative and give more challenges and responsibilites to the younger players because that is the only way to move forward."
The BAM also set targets of reaching semi-finals for the men's team and quarter-finals for the women's.
In the previous edition in 2016, the men's team lost in the semi-finals and the women's failed to make it out of the group stage.