The All India tennis Association (AITA) has named former India player and chairman of the national tennis federation’s selection panel Rohit Rajpal as the non-playing captain for India’s tie against Pakistan. This came after weeks of speculation about Leander Paes being the front runner.
Amidst the controversial Davis Cup tie between India and Pakistan, which has been stretched beyond patience owing to security concerns in Pakistan, the Indian national tennis federation had to make an appointment after captain Mahesh Bhupathi and some top players decided to pull out.
And upon suggestions from the federation’s former and incumbent presidents, Rajpal was named for the role at its Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Chandigarh. For a long period 46-year-old Paes was an apparent choice for the role.
“Former President Anil Khanna and incumbent Praveen Mahajan proposed Rohit Rajpal’s name and everyone agreed. Rajpal will go to Pakistan as non-playing captain and this arrangement is only for this tie, as of now,” an AITA source said, reported PTI.
The match, scheduled to be held on November 29-30, was first rescheduled after India raised security concerns. Thereafter, India had requested to shift the tie to a neutral venue due to prevailing diplomatic tensions, although the International Tennis Federation (ITF) hasn’t been very keen on that. A final decision would be taken on Monday.
Rajpal had debuted back in 1990 against Korea in Seoul, a tie that India lost 0-5. And that was the only time Rajpal represented the country, in which he lost to Jae-Sik Kim 1-6, 2-6. After Rajpal was elected for the chairman of the five-man selection panel in November last year, this is the second biggest responsibility for the player.
A member of BJP’s state unit and president of the Delhi Lawn Tennis Association president, it has also been reported that former skipper Anand Amritraj was also interested for the role. However, he has asked for one-year tenure at least.