Davis Cup tie vs NZ: Problem of plenty for coach Nandan Bal

by   Sep 12, 2012 12:36 IST

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New Delhi: Faced with a problem of plenty, India's Davis Cup coach Nandan Bal said doubles combination for the Davis Cup tie against New Zealand would be decided on the basis of players' fitness level and weather conditions.

In the squad of six, five play doubles quite well and in the absence of the battle-hardened pair of Mahesh Bhupathi and Leander Paes, it would be quite a task to pick the right combination for the tie starting on Friday.

Reserve player Divij Sharan is the highest-ranked player in doubles at 94 and has won two Challengers this season. Vishnu Vardhan has also shown his class at the London Olympics in the company of Paes.

With Paes and Bhupathi not playing as a team, Davis Cup coach Nandan Bal says selection will depend on fitness of the players as the conditions would be hot and muggy. Reuters

Yuki Bhambri has figured consistently in the Challenger doubles and Sanam Singh is an Asian Games doubles gold medallist.

Bal said Saketh Myneni too has a big serve and has been playing well in the camp so ultimately it would boil down to whose fitness is best in hot conditions.

"The conditions are hot and muggy. It might happen that two players play singles on day one and then two different players play doubles on day two. It will also depend on fitness of the players. We are keeping a watch," Bal told PTI.

"All six are in the mix. It is all in the open. We are trying different combinations everyday," he added before heading for the practice session with the team.

Bal has been with world class players in Paes, Bhupathi, Rohan Bopanna and Somdev Devvarman in the recent years during Davis Cup ties but this time he is training a very young team.

Bal said the experience of guiding young boys has been fantastic.

"It's a happy young team. There is a lot of exuberance. They are a committed lot. From a coach's point of view, it's a terrific bunch. They listen to you," he said.

Bal played down the fact that the Indian players are a bit inexperienced when compared to the Kiwis.

"Yuki, Sanam and Vishnu have all played before and are regular on the Tour. They have played at the Asian Games,  Olympics, so you cannot say they are inexperienced."

The coach said the conditions suit India and that will be an advantage. "It's hot and muggy. We are used to the conditions. So we have that advantage with us. Hopefully we should be standing on the winning side," he concluded.

Meanwhile, non-playing captain SP Misra said, "The selection committee has given us four final players. There has to be a good reason to replace any one of them."

A captain can change the final line-up one hour before the draw, which will be made tomorrow morning.

PTI