KUALA LUMPUR: National men's doubles coach Tan Bin Shen would like to see more players stepping up and challenging their established seniors.
Bin Shen said his charges, including Choong Hon Jian-Haikal Nazri, Yap Roy King-Wan Arif Wan Junaidi, and Goh Sze Fei-Nur Izzuddin Rumsani, must have the self-belief to take the next step.
He believes that fostering healthy competition is the key to sustaining a steady supply of top doubles pairs, as seen in countries like Indonesia and China.
On Sunday, Hon Jian-Haikal, who were only paired up in August, took on Japan's world No 16 Akira Koga-Taichi Saito in the Super 300 Syed Modi International final in Lucknow.
It was the Malaysian duo's second final this season after reaching the final of the Super 100 Indonesia Masters in October.
En route to the final in India, Hon Jian-Haikal had stunned Germany's Mark Lamfuss-Marvin Seidel (second round) and England's Ben Lane-Sean Vendy in the semi-finals.
"I want these pairs to believe in themselves more. They need to know that they are good enough," said Bin Shen.
"Look at the pairs that Hon Jian-Haikal defeated to reach the Syed Modi final. That should be motivation for them to realise they can achieve similar success.
"I'm certain these boys know what is expected of them, and breaking into the top 20 should be their target for the new season."
Former world champions Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik are the only Malaysian pair in the top 10 at No. 3.
In contrast, China have two men's pairs in the top 10 — world No. 1 Liang Wei Keng-Wang Chang and world No. 8 Liu Yu Chen-Ou Xuan Yi.
While Indonesia have former world No. 1 Fajar Alfian-Muhammad Rian Ardianto and three-time former world champions Mohammad Ahsan-Hendra Setiawan in the top 10.
"This is exactly what I mean, this is what I hope to see, like Indonesia and China, to have a few solid pairs challenging among themselves," he added.