Bhupathi says he is still captain and available for Pakistan tie

Pakistan and India to play Davis Cup tie at neutral venue

The Asia/Oceania Group I tie, originally scheduled for September 14-15 in Islamabad, was postponed by the ITF to November 29-30 following a security review amid political tensions between the bitter neighbors.

Keeping in mind the players' unwillingness to travel to Islamabad for the tie, and in anticipation that the International Tennis Federation (ITF) will not change the venue, the AITA on Monday had appointed its selection panel chairman and former player Rohit Rajpal as non-playing captain, replacing Mahesh Bhupathi.

It surprises me that AITA changed the Davis Cup captain before ITF announced the final decision yesterday (04.11.19) and where the tie would be held. "As per the Davis Cup Regulations, the Pakistan Tennis Federation (PTF) has now the choice to nominate a neutral venue and has five working days to confirm their proposed venue, which will be announced once the choice has been submitted and approved", it concluded. "We have the option of selecting the neutral venue but it is difficult to find grass court venues now and if we have to play on hard courts it will be a big disadvantage to us", he said.

Responding to Bopanna's comments, AITA Secretary-General Hironmoy Chatterjee said players' job is to play and not interfere in administrative matters.

"I even hold not heard from the AITA since Monday or after the ITF addressed the gamers considerations on venue and licensed a fair role - so I'm on hand and imagine in am gentle captain except I hear otherwise!"

Bhupathi was once named the non-playing captain of India's Davis Cup squad in December 2016, taking on from Anand Amritraj.

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Chatterjee printed that Bhupathi's contract was once already over and he was once given an extension for the earlier tie against Italy in February in Kolkata.

The match is set to take place from November 29 to 30, but the exact location is unclear following the ITF decision.

"We do not all the time need to penalize the gamers".

Sources say, Paes could also be paired with left-handed Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan, who has made a mark on the doubles circuit in the past two years.

The belief within Pakistan circles is that the caravan of thousands of angry anti-government demonstrators demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Imran Khan, which hit the streets on October 27 and traveled to Islamabad on November 1, may have forced ITF to change its mind at the last minute and shift the tie out of the capital city. On Wednesday, he told that Rohit Rajpal can captain the team against Pakistan.

In singles too, Myneni (266) and Arjun Kadhe (552) expressed their interests in competing in Islamabad but are ranked way below top players Sumit Nagal (career-best 129), Ramkumar Ramanathan (199) and Sasi Kumar Mukund (248). "Once again Pakistan is getting penalised for someone else actions". Requested if he had a phrase with Bhupathi, Chatterjee mentioned: "I had a word with Mahesh. To me it's an absolute discrimination at every level (sic.)", Qureshi tweeted.

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