AITA announces team for the Davis Cup tie in Islamabad
Prajnesh Gunneswaran and Ramkumar Ramanathan will spearhead the Indian team in the Davis Cup Asia-Oceania group-1 tie to be staged in Islamabad, on September 14 and 15.
Saketh Myneni, Rohan Bopanna and Divij Sharan will be the other members of the five-member squad, in which Sasi Kumar Mukund has been drafted as the reserve player.
Sumit Nagal was ruled out with an injury, which restricted the choice for the selection committee.
They chose the three best singles players available and the two best doubles players, on the basis of their international rank. Of course, Bopanna and Divij had won the Asian Games gold last year, asserting themselves as the best team in the region.
While Prajnesh is ranked 90 in the world and Ramkumar 184, the Pakistan team has no player in the top 1350. Their best ranked singles player is Ahmed Choudhary at Tied-1387. Of course, Pakistan has Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi as the doubles specialist, who has slipped to be No.55 in the world.
The Indian team will be accompanied by two physical trainers.
The seasoned Aqeel Khan, who had won the National title in India, has been traveling to the Grand Slams as the hitting partner for Aisam. He may be ranked 1489 in singles and 2096 in doubles, but Aqeel can really compete hard.
In the last Davis Cup tie between India and Pakistan in Mumbai in 2006, Leander Paes won the decisive fifth rubber, 6-4, 7-6(4), 3-6, 0-6, 6-1 against Aqeel Khan, on grass at the Brabourne Stadium.
India has a 6-0 record against Pakistan in Davis Cup. India has lost only four rubbers while winning 22 rubbers spread over the six ties, starting from 1962.
The new regional format that has been in practice for some time, has only two days of play. The first day features two singles matches in the ‘best of three set’ format. The second day will start with the doubles and will be followed by the two reverse singles.
The team: Prajnesh Gunneswaran, Ramkumar Ramanathan, Saketh Myneni, Rohan Bopanna, Divij Sharan. Reserve: Sasi Kumar Mukund. Captain: Mahesh Bhupathi; Coach: Zeeshan Ali; Manager: Sunder Iyer.
(Courtesy: The Hindu)