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India-Pakistan Davis Cup: Major stars pull out, Leander Paes Non-playing Captain

The AITA sent a revised list to the Pakistan Tennis Federation on Thursday for the start of the visa process

Sports News, Nation, (New Delhi), October 25:-The All India Tennis Association has sent a 9-member squad for the Davis Cup tie to be held in Pakistan on November 29-30 after major Indian tennis stars refused to travel to the neighbouring country.

The AITA sent a revised list to the Pakistan Tennis Federation on Thursday for the start of the visa process. The Davis Cup tie against Pakistan is scheduled at the grass courts of the Pakistan Sports Complex in Islamabad.

Leander Paes has replaced Mahesh Bhupathi as the non-playing Captain, with changes to India’s team members as well.

Saketh Sai Myneni, Suresh Kumar Manish, Rawat Sidharth, Arjun Jayant Kadhe, Sri Ram Balaji and Sasikumar Mukund and will be accompanied by manager Sunder Narayan Iyer, coach Syed Zeeshan Ali and physio Anand Kumar. Myneni’s wife Sri Lakshmi Anumolu will also be accompanying the team.

The likes of Rohan Bopanna, Prajnesh Gunneswaran and Ramkumar Ramanathan, who were earlier scheduled to go, do not find mention in the list sent to Pakistan.

Bopanna and Ramkumar were expected to turn out for India, as AITA pushed for the tie to be moved to a neutral venue, but Prajnesh Gunneswaran had already excused himself owing to his marriage being on November 29, the opening day of matches.

The tie was earlier scheduled to be held in Islamabad on September 14-15 but was postponed to November after an in-depth security review by the International Tennis Federation.

AITA was forced to send in the names to the Pakistan Tennis Federation (PTF) for visa formalities, to avoid a likely suspension from ITF of one or two years and relegated 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 The News.

Saifullah has directed the PTF officials to hasten the visa process. “We have started visa seeking process immediately. When it comes to getting a visa for an Indian national, everyone knows the process is lengthy. Still, we will do all we can to complete everything in time,” he said.

-(NAV, Inputs: Agencies)

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