Veteran Indian tennis ace Mahesh Bhupathi on Wednesday rejected suggestions that he has been replaced as captain of India for the Davis Cup tie against Pakistan stating that he is available and believes he is "still captain". Rohan Bopanna also expressed his shock over the captaincy change by AITA.
Veteran Indian tennis ace Mahesh Bhupathi, on Wednesday, rejected suggestions that he has been replaced as captain of India for the Davis Cup tie against Pakistan stating that he is available and believes he is "still captain". After Bhupathi also refused to travel to Pakistan citing security concerns for the Davis Cup Asia/Oceania Group I tie, the All India Tennis Association (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. Bhupathi took to Twitter to comment on the issue.
"To everyone so concerned for my thoughts and comments. All I know is from a phone call with Mr. Chaterjee (AITA Secretary General Hironmoy Chatterjee) on Monday where I was told that Rohit is replacing me as captain because I wasn't comfortable going to Pakistan (love the country been there before - not this time)," Bhupathi tweeted.
"I have not heard from the AITA since Monday or after the ITF addressed the players concerns on venue and approved a neutral location - so I am available and believe in am still captain unless I hear otherwise! Glad to "comment" when I know what I know," he added.
Another veteran Rohan Bopanna, one of the other players who refused to go to Islamabad because of similar reasons as Bhupathi, expressed his surprise over the AITA changing the captain before the International Tennis Federation (ITF) shifted the Asia/Oceania Group I tie from Islamabad to a neutral venue Meanwhile, the AITA has hit back at the players criticising them for appointing a non-playing captain, stating that it is not their decision to make.
"It is not the players' prerogative to comment on administrative matters," Chatterjee told IANS.
In reply to Bopanna’s statement where he said he was shocked that none of the players was "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."
The tie which was earlier scheduled to be held on September 14-15 has now been postponed to 29 and 30 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 neighbouring countries.