A “hurt” Zeeshan Ali on Friday, said that his credentials as coach were never in doubt and promised to give his best in the upcoming Davis Cup tie against South Korea despite having an inexperienced side at his disposal.
Zeeshan, who represented India in the Davis Cup in the 90s, said that he is a non-controversial figure and had not dreamt of such a beginning to his coaching career.
The revolting group in Indian tennis wanted Aditya Sachdeva as the Davis Cup coach but AITA went with Zeeshan, son of ex-Davis Cup captain and coach Akhtar Ali.
“I don’t think that my credentials was an issue. If that was the case, AITA would not have nominated my name for the job. I am into coaching for a long time, definitely I am hurt,” Zeeshan said after AITA named the side for the upcoming tie.
“I have seen Somdev, Yuki play. I am familiar with them and their game but not interacted with them,” he said, adding that he would like to talk to the revolting players at an appropriate time in future.
The right-hander, who had touched a career-high singles ranking of 126 in December 1988, said it would be a huge challenge to guide the side under the prevalent circumstances.
“It will be a huge challenge but I am going to give my best,” he said.
Zeeshan, who did coaching in Dubai for 10 years before shifting base to Bangalore, said that it was difficult to predict how the tie would unfold for India.
The AITA also backed Zeeshan after naming him the new coach of the Davis Cup side, which will be led by Leander Paes with Vijayant Malik, V.M.Ranjeet and Purav Raja being the other members.
Arjun Kadhe and Ashwin Vijayaraghvan were named as the reserve players.
“Zeeshan was an outstanding Davis Cup player. He is a seven-time national champion. He has pursued coaching, has relocated to Bangalore and is still into coaching,” AITA CEO Hironmoy Chatterjee said.
The AITA also said that by preferring ex-Davis Cuppers for the national coaching job, they wanted to give retired players a chance to render more service to the nation.
“We can use their expertise on this platform. As of now only ex-Davis Cuppers will be given the job but if good non-Davis Cuppers are there, we can bring them in future.”