Bengaluru: The AITA is set to prune the six-member squad to four for next month's Davis Cup tie against Uzbekistan even as the combination, to be announced on Tuesday, could change hours before the 7-9 April rubber.
The new non-playing captain Mahesh Bhupathi had said that he has the option of fielding all singles players but considering the rival team's strength, he would prefer a combination of three singles and a doubles player.
Ramkumar Ramanathan (ranked-269), Yuki Bhambri (ranked 307) look like certain singles players in the team and if Bhupathi opts for one doubles player, then either Leander Paes or Rohan Bopanna will find the place in the playing team.
The third singles player could be Prajnesh Gunneswaran (325) and N Sriram Balaji will help the side in preparations.
Bhupathi had said the recent performance of the players will be kept in mind before deciding the final four and by that standard there is little to separate Paes and Bopanna.
Both lost in the opening round of the Indian Wells Masters event and crashed out of the first round in the following Challenger event in Irving, US.
If ranking is the criteria, then Bopanna would beat Paes hands down in making the team since he is ranked 23rd to Paes' 57th in ATP doubles chart.
"We will announce the team tomorrow. We are waiting for clearance from ITF on the players' eligibility," AITA Secretary
General Hironmoy Chatterjee said.
Asked if there was any confusion, he said, "There is no confusion but there are a few formalities that we need to follow."
Rules permit replacing two players named in the final four before the tie starts.
Davis Cup coach Zeeshan Ali said that his main concern is not about the differences between the players or who the final four would be but that the players should be 100 percent fit.
"My main concern is when the players turn up, all of them should be injury-free," Zeeshan told PTI.
Saketh Myneni had pulled out of the tie against New Zealand in Pune in the last minute and Vishnu Vardhan was asked to play the doubles with Paes.
In a laudable step, after taking over as captain, Bhupathi has made it compulsory for all the players to prove fitness before making themselves available for selection.
Asked about India's chances against an Uzbekistan side that has Denis Istomin, who recently beat Novak Djokovic, Zeeshan said, "It is going to be a very tough tie. Our players are preparing well and eager to perform," he said.
Published Date: Mar 27, 2017 11:42 pm | Updated Date: Mar 27, 2017 11:43 pm