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'Zii Jia needs more weapons'

FOLLOWING Lee Zii Jia's failure to hang on to his All England crown, former international Datuk James Selvaraj urged the world No 7 to add more weaponry to his game.

James, who was BAM high performance director from 2010-2012, said Zii Jia should develop more firepower and variety if he wants to be unbeatable.

James said Zii Jia relies too heavily on his fast game and powerful smashes, but this may not work all the time.

In Saturday's All England semi-final, Zii Jia fought tooth and nail but it was not enough as he succumbed 21-13, 12-21, 21-19 to India's rising star Lakshya Sen.

Ironically for Zii Jia, the loss came a day after he had produced his best performance in recent times to upset two-time world champion Kento Momota of Japan in the All England quarter-finals.

James said: "Zii Jia is a fast attacking player who relies on strong smashes. But what happens when he comes up against a player like Lakhsya Sen, who is able to take all his smashes?

"In the All England, Zii Jia got caught this way because Lakhsya is a stroke player, and he made sure he played every stroke patiently and absorbed Zii Jia's smashes.

"At times, Lakshya hit back with his precise cross-court smashes.

"I feel Zii Jia needs to add more variety to his game. He needs to switch tactics when up against different players."

James believes that Zii Jia can only improve with more match practice. But this can somewhat be a challenge for the 24-year-old as he has quit the national set-up in January to pursue a professional career.

"This will be the challenge for Zii Jia. Right now he has only one or two players to spar with. I don't think that will be enough.

"Since he has left the national team, it's harder for him to have proper match practice. And I believe that is what he needs the most. Let's see what coach Indra (Wijaya) has in store for him," added James.

After competing in the German Open last week and All England, Zii Jia will return to Kuala Lumpur to prepare for the Korea Open on April 5-10 before shifting his focus to the Thomas Cup in Bangkok on May 8-15.

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