BIRMINGHAM - If the results of the recent German Open are anything to go by, Malaysia will once again rely on world No.1 Lee Chong Wei for the All-England which starts on Tuesday.
In Germany, Malaysia's best bet for a win, world No. 8 Hoon Thien How-Tan Wee Kiong failed to live up to their own high standards as they were sent packing in the semi-finals by Japan's Takeshi Kamura-Keigo Sonoda.
Malaysian Open champions Goh V Shem-Lim Khim Wah were also a letdown, crashing out in the quarter-finals to Japanese Hiroyuki Endo-Kenichi Hayakawa.
With Koo Kien Keat having resigned from the BA of Malaysia and Tan Boon Heong without a partner, there is a clear lack of depth in the men's doubles department.
The biggest worry for both Thien How-Wee Kiong and V Shem-Khim Wah is the ability to perform at the highest level on a consistent basis.
With the poor showing in Germany, both pairs will need to step up at the All-England.
Unfortunately, the draw has not been too kind to them as they are tipped to meet in the quarter-finals, provided they even get that far.
V Shem-Khim Wah, in particular, have the worst luck of the draw, going up against third seeds Mathias Boe-Carsten Mogensen of Denmark in the first round.
Meanwhile, the 31-year-old Chong Wei should make the final without too much problems despite waiting until the eleventh hour to confirm his participation due to an ankle injury.
Chong Wei will meet Thailand's Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk in the first round tomorrow with either Chong Wei Feng or Germany's Marc Zwiebler awaiting in the second round.
The real test for Chong Wei, the champion in 2010 and 2011, should come in the semi-finals with either world No. 4 Jan O Jorgensen of Denmark or world No. 5 Kenichi Tago of Japan as his opponent.
If the Malaysian reaches the final, he has to contend with world No. 2 Chen Long of China.
The Chinese ace has won their last four encounters. He also has a better head-to-head record (8-7) against Chong Wei.
Barring any injuries, Chong Wei should do well to rely on his experience and craft to produce a win over Chen Long.
Meanwhile, three Malaysians - Liew Daren, Zulfadli Zulkiffli and Misbun Ramdan Misbun - will start their campaign in the qualifiers on Tuesday.