Kolkata, Nov 5 (IANS) The All India Tennis Association (AITA) on Tuesday slammed the players criticising them for appointing a non-playing captain ahead of the International Tennis Federation (ITF) shifting the Davis Cup tie out of Islamabad, saying it is not their decision to make.
Veteran Rohan Bopanna, one of the players who refused to go to Islamabad because of security issues, tweeted on Tuesday expressing his surprise over AITA changing the captain before ITF shifted the Asia/Oceania Group I tie to a neutral venue.
The AITA on Monday named Rohit Rajpal, a former India player and Chairman of the national tennis federation’s selection panel, as the non-playing captain after Mahesh Bhupathi also refused to travel to Pakistan citing security concerns.
“It is not the players’ prerogative to comment on administrative matters,” AITA secretary general Hironmoy Chatterjee told IANS.
Bopanna said he was shocked that none of the players were “asked or even informed” that the captain was going to be changed.
“They were not supposed to be informed. It is the committee’s decision at the Annual General Meeting (AGM). I spoke to him and I feel he is overstepping,” said Chatterjee.
Asked if he had a word with Bhupathi, Chatterjee said: “I had a word with Mahesh. Our job is to inform them about our decisions and that’s what I did.”
Veteran Leander Paes, Saketh Myneni, Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan and N Sriram Balaji had all made themselves available for selection.
The squad is yet to be announced but with the tie being shifted to a neutral venue, Bopanna is available for selection now.
Barring Paes, none of the players mentioned above would be able to make it to the team because of their low ranking compared to Bopanna.
Paes is ranked 96th in the world and Bopanna is placed 39th.
The selection committee should go by rankings while picking the Davis Cup squad, so ignoring Bopanna would be tough if he is willing to play.
“With my years of experience and representation, I would like for the system to know that the player’s best interest is when the players are heard,” Bopanna said in the tweet.
The tie will be held on November 29 and 30.
“Following the review of the latest advice given by the ITF’s independent security advisors, the Davis Cup Committee has taken the decision that the Davis Cup Asia/Oceania Group I tie between Pakistan and India on November 29-30 must be played at a neutral venue,” the ITF said late on Monday.
The tie was earlier scheduled to be held on September 14-15 but was postponed to November after a security review by the ITF in August. The postponement had come in the wake of pleas from India to shift the tie to a neutral venue or postpone it given the heightened tensions between the two countries.