The International Tennis Federation (ITF) cleared the air surrounding India-Pakistan Davis Cup on Tuesday as it nominated Nur- Sultan, capital of Kazakhstan as the host city for the matches. The ITF says “the Davis Cup Committee has voted in favor of the tie being hosted by the ITF on neutral ground.”
Pakistan had appealed against ITF’s decision to shift the Davis Cup tie out of Islamabad. Pakistan had argued that if Sikh Devotees felt safe to travel to Pakistan then what does the Indian Davis Cup squad fears. However, the plea was dismissed by the Independent Tribunal of the ITF.
Originally the match was scheduled for September, but it was later rescheduled for November 29-30 after All India Tennis Association (AITA) had requested a change in venue with concerns of safety of the Indian contingent. The tension between the two South Asian nations had escalated following the revocation of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir. However, ITF was reluctant to shift the tie out of Islamabad. Later, ITF decided to shift the match to a neutral venue following fresh security review.
AITA had named an 8-member squad for the tie. Te team comprised of veteran Leander Paes, who returned after a year to the team, along with Rohan Bopanna, Sumit Nagal, Ramkumar Ramanathan, Sasikumar Mukund, Saketh Myneni, Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan. However, Rohan Bopanna has opted out of the tie following a shoulder injury. Bopanna was supposed to team up with Leander Paes in the men’s doubles event. Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan who was named as a reserve in the squad is expected to replace Boppana. He will also be pairing up with Leander Paes in the doubles event.
India team under the leadership of non playing captain Rohit Rajpal will land in Kazakh capital on Sunday. The forecast is -90C and -170C and -90C and -160C for the two days of the tie. On the other hand, Aisam-ul-Haq, Pakistan’s top player, expressed his disappointment after India refused to play in Islamabad. He now says he will not play in Kazakhstan.