Leander Paes has replaced Mahesh Bhupati as the non-playing captain for the India-Pakistan Asia/Oceania Group I Davis Cup tie, to be held in Islamabad on November 29-30. Reportedly, Bhupati along with the likes of Rohan Bopanna, Prajnesh Gunneswaran and Ramkumar Ramanathan refused to visit Pakistan.
The All India Tennis Association (AITA) sent a revised list of players to the Pakistan Tennis Federation (PTF). Paes, Saketh Sai Myneni, Suresh Kumar Manish, Rawat Sidharth, Arjun Jayant Kadhe, Sri Ram Balaji and Sasikumar Mukund will be India’s representatives alongside team manager Sunder Narayan Iyer, coach Syed Zeeshan Ali and physio Anand Kumar.
AITA had earlier asked the Internation Tennis Federation to shift the tie, originally scheduled for September 14 and 15, to a neutral venue citing the high-octane diplomatic tension between the two neighbouring nations.
However, with no indication from the ITF for change in the venue, AITA was forced to begin the visa formalities to avoid a likely suspension of one or two years or relegation to Asia/Oceania Group III.
Ever since the ITF committee changed the dates of the tie, we kept reminding India to provide details of their team. When they did not, as a last resort we approached the ITF committee and today India provided us the details,” PTF President Salim Saifullah Khan told Pakistani daily The News.
“We’ve begun the visa procedure while waiting for a confirmation on the venue by the ITF. We’ve requested a change in venue and ITF has promised to get back to us by Nov. 3,” AITA Secretary General Hiranmoy Chatterjee was earlier quoted as saying by Reuters.