LEE Chong Wei used to motivate and inspire his national teammates during tournaments.
But Lee Zii Jia has taken over that role from the retired former World No 1.
According to Chong Wei, the national Thomas Cup team will look to World No 10 Zii Jia for inspiration and confidence.
As the country’s top men’s singles shuttler, it is Zii Jia’s calling to lift the team when he takes to court as the first singles.
The Thomas and Uber Cup Finals are scheduled on Oct 3-11 in Aarhus, Denmark.
Having played the anchor role in numerous Thomas Cups, Chong Wei said: “I don’t wish to put additional pressure on Zii Jia but it is the fact. He knows this too.
“When you take to court as the first singles in a Thomas Cup tie, you can make or break the team spirit. Having said that, I have a lot of confidence in Zii Jia and the support team around him.
“Coaches like Hendrawan and Wong Choong Hann are very experienced former players, who know what it’s like to anchor a Thomas Cup team. They will know how to guide Zii Jia.
“And if some of the senior players like Tan Wee Kiong are selected to be in the squad this year, I think we will have a good chance of doing well.”
Following the draw ceremony on Monday, Malaysia are in Group A alongside rivals, Indonesia, England and the Netherlands.
“The fight for the top two spots in the group will be between Indonesia and Malaysia.
“Who do we want to face or avoid in the knockout stage? This will have to be decided by the team and coaches.
“I have no doubt we will clear the group stages,” added Chong Wei, after launching Airsportz Gold Driven yesterday at the Royal Selangor Visitor Centre in Setapak.
The BA of Malaysia (BAM) will finalise the Thomas Cup and Uber Cup teams next month, after the internal tournaments.
Malaysia last won the Thomas Cup title in 1992.