Harpal Singh Bedi
New Delhi: In a move to keep balance and harmony in the team All India Tennis Association (AITA) on Thursday named eight-member Davis Cup squad for the tie against Pakistan, including those who had declined to play in Islamabad and those who wanted to play for the country respective of the venue.
Veteran Leander Paes returned to the squad after more than a year along with top players Sumit Nagal, Ramkumar Ramanathan, Sasi Kumar Mukund and Rohan Bopanna for the tie to be held on November 29 and 30 at a venue yet to be decided by the ITF.
Nagal, Bopanna, Ramanathan and Mukund had opted out of the tie saying they will not travel to Pakistan due to security concerns
“The selection committee also puts on record its deep sense of appreciation and gratitude to all the players who had confirmed their unconditional availability even if the tie was held in Islamabad,” AITA said in a statement.
“.keeping in mind the overall best interest of the nation, of sending out our best possible players to represent India in this prestigious and important tie, some of these committed Indian players like N. Sriram Balaji, Arjun Kadhe and Mainsh Suresh Kumar could not be accommodated in the final team,” the statement added.
In the squad announced by the AITA selection committee, Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan, Saketh Myneni and Siddharth Rawat also found a place in the team. These players were willing travel to Islamabad
“We wanted the players to be mentally ready. They can make their respective schedules now. We did not want them to wait more to know if they will be picked or not. Irrespective of the venue, only these players will be a part of the tie, wherever it is played,” said non-playing captain Rohit Rajpal.
In the absence of top player Prajnesh Gunneswaran, India’s singles challenge will be led by the in-form Nagal (ranked 127) and Ramanathan (190). Mukund (250) and Myneni (267) will be the back-up singles players.
Nagal was not a part of the five-member squad, which was announced earlier when the tie was to be held on September 14 and 15. He had cited an injury at that time for opting out.
AITA said the final team will be communicated to the ITF after receiving their communication on November 18.
Team: Sumit Nagal, Ramkumar Ramanathan, Saketh Myneni, Rohan Bopanna, Leander Paes.
Reserves: Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan, Sasi Kumar Mukund and Siddharth Rawat.
Captain: Rohit Rajpal,Coach: Zeeshan Ali, Manager: Sunder Iyer.