Somdev, Yuki may return; Bhupathi, Bopanna unlikely
Posted on: 06:38 PM IST Feb 22, 2013
New Delhi: Top singles players Somdev Devvarman and Yuki Bhambri are likely to return to the Indian Davis Cup team as the national selectors meet to pick the squad for the tie against Indonesia, here Friday. In the absence of 11 top players, India had lost the Asia/Oceania Group I first round tie against South Korea 1-4 earlier this month.
The players ended their rebellion for the time being and made themselves available for the Indonesia tie after AITA agreed to improve the playing conditions and gave all the offers in writing. The selection committee is unlikely to overlook Somdev although he is fifth-highest ranked Indian player at 354.
Somdev had beaten world number 39 Benoit Paire of France in an ongoing ATP event in France. Yuki is highest-ranked Indian player in singles at 257 so he is likely to return to the squad. He has not lived up to expectations after a sparkling career in junior circuit but he is one player, who is considered India's future in singles along with Somdev.
Yuki had won both his singles in the relegation play-off tie against New Zealand in September 2012 in Chandigarh. For the doubles, the selection committee will stick with Leander Paes but it would be interesting to see if Purav Raja is retained. Raja had supported Paes well in the tie against Korea, as the two registered the only victory for India.
It is highly unlikely that the Mahesh Bhupathi and Rohan Bopanna would be recalled to the side. They were axed from the side on disciplinary ground and handed two-year bans although the court had issued a stay order on the punishment. It is likely that selectors may opt for fresh legs, bringing in Vishnu Vardhan, who had partnered Paes at the London Olympics.
Both Vishnu and Raja would be contenders for the doubles rubber.
It will be also interesting to see if the selectors keep V M Ranjeet and Vijayant Malik, who featured in the Korea tie, at least in the reserves, even though better-ranked players such as Sanam Singh (297), Sriram Balaji (314) and Saketh Myneni (390) are now available.
The AITA has decided to persist with non playing captain S P Misra, even though the players have demanded his replacement. The Korea tie was supposed to be Misra's farewell tie but the federation looks in no mood to replace him. The players, while making themselves available, had raised this issue and wanted to be kept in the loop on Misra's possible replacement. It remains to be seen whether AITA appoints a new captain or continues with the veteran.