India set to announce Davis Cup squad by August 5
Kolkata, July 28 (PTI): Pakistan-bound Indian Davis Cup squad will be announced by August 5, more than a month in advance for the September 14-15 Group I Asia/Ocenia fixture in Islamabad, AITA secretary general Hironmoy Chatterjee said here Sunday.
No Indian Davis Cup squad has travelled to Pakistan since March 1964 and in that tie, held in Lahore, India had won 4-0.
“We will announce the squad by August 5. The squad will be more or less the same (that played against Italy). It’s all about rankings,” Chatterjee told PTI.
“The visa procedure for Pakistan is lengthy and we will soon start the formalities,” he added.
Chatterjee said India No. 1 Prajnesh Gunneswaran and Ramkumar Ramanathan are most likely to be the singles one-two choice with Yuki Bhambri and Sumit Nagal injured, while Rohan Bopanna and Divij Sharan will be the doubles pair.
Non-playing captain Mahesh Bhupathi and coach Zeeshan Ali, whose contracts had ended with India’s 1-3 loss to Italy in the Davis Cup Qualifiers at South Club here in February this year, are all set to continue for this Pakistan leg.
“We have not yet discussed (their replacements) and they will travel to Pakistan,” he said.
The tie is slated at the grasscourts of Pakistan Sports Complex in Islamabad and the winners will make the 2020 Qualifiers.
India are 20th in Davis Cup rankings, way ahead of 37th placed Pakistan and hold an all-win 6-0 record, of which two came on grass.
“We have a far superior team. We won’t have any issues playing on grass,” Chaterjee said as India prepare to take on Pakistan 13 years after they defeated them 3-2 at the Brabourne Stadium in Mumbai.
On the diplomatic tensions, he said: “It’s been going on for 100 years but it’s Davis Cup not a bilateral fixture.
“If we do not go citing security or political reasons, the ITTF has every right to relegate us or even impose a ban,” he said, citing the example of Hong Kong who had refused to play an away tie in Pakistan and they were not only fined but also relegated to a lower division.
“AITA is satisfied with the security promised by its Pakisan counterparts and we are all ready. This is a Davis Cup and not a bilateral tour so there would not be any issues.”
In their last Davis Cup fixture, Pakistan had suffered a 1-4 defeat to Uzbekistan to miss out on a place in the World Group play-offs.