Pool F:  Malaysia,  Pakistan, [13/18] Scotland, [19/22] Spain
The final pool is the most interesting one and the only pool without
a considerably strong team shadowing the rest of the field, who are simply
fighting for the second place scraps.
Malaysia went from finishing 7th in 2001, to 14th in 2003. It was after
the World Teams in Vienna that Ong Beng Hee’s ranking slid from
the top 10, out of the top 20, and it’s only now that he’s
going in the right direction again. I’m pretty sure this is the
first team event that Bengy has played where he is #2 on the team behind
Iskandar. Malaysia is really a two-horse team, with the ranking scale
going 14 (Iskandar), 17 (Bengy) then 129 (Arnold). This would normally
be a problem, but Pakistan, Scotland and Spain all have low ranked
players in the third position.
For a country that has the second best record at this event, Pakistan’s
form over the past decade has been pretty dismal. They won the event
in 1993, came second in 1995 but have finished 12th, 11th and 9th over
the past three events. Shahid and Mansoor lead the team out, but the
numbers 3 and 4 are both ranked around one hundred.
Scotland’s native-born players at the top of the PSA rankings have
left wee bonnie Johnny White on his own. Peter Nicol found greener pastures
south of the border and Martin Heath now coaches in the US. John White’s
a pretty special player, but not even he can win this event alone. He
has three fresh faces making up his team, but two of them don’t
have a ranking and the other is 273.
Spain didn’t field a team in 2003, which was crazy seeing as Golan
was setting the squash world on fire and tournaments were being hosted
in Spain and won by locals. The country has played in the World Teams
eight times but has never done any better than 14. The last two results
were 22 and 21.
had some excellent results a couple of years ago, but he hasn’t
yet been able to take his game to the next level. He’s easily the
strongest Spanish player, but he’ll be the underdog against the
number ones on each other team in this pool.
Malaysia and Pakistan should see their way through the pool stages,
but both Scotland and Spain could cause an upset.
Mohd Azlan Iskander
Beng Hee Ong
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