Somdev Devvarman yet again holds the key as the Indian Davis Cup team, sans Leander Paes, take on hosts South Africa from tomorrow to stake claim of a berth in the World Group after 11 years.
The duo of Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi have always given India an edge in the doubles rubber but the last minute pullout of Paes has made things slightly tricky for India.
Now Rohan Bopanna is likely to do double duty. He has to pair with Bhupathi against Jeff Coetzee and Wesley Moodie, a pair capable of giving India a run for their money.
Then Bopanna, who is coming back from a knee injury, will have to play two singles as well which means he will be in action on all three days of the tie.
The singles in a Davis Cup tie is a five-set affair and it will be interesting to see how Bopanna copes with pressure.
It will be surprising if skipper S.P. Misra lets Yuki Bhambri make his debut in the Davis Cup.
Somdev is thus the man for India if it has to make the World Group. India last played in that grade in 1998.
He did it for India against Chinese Taipei in the Asia/Oceania tie and after a confidence boosting performance at the US Open he will be high in spirits.
Going by his form, the 133rd ranked Somdev will definitely start favourite in both the singles.