A full-strength India, led by Somdev Devvarman, is not expected to face much of a fight from Indonesia when the country resumes its fight to remain in the Asia-Oceania Group I of Davis Cup, in Bangalore on Friday.
India should have ensured its place in group I early this year when it clashed with South Korea but for an inexperienced team due to a player’s revolt, the country lost that tie 1-4 and found itself in the first round of the relegation play-offs.
All revolting players -- Somdev, Yuki Bhambri, Sanam Singh -- are back in the side and it should not be a problem for the extremely talented lot to let captain S P Misra go on a high.
It will be the last time Misra would wear the captain’s cap. He joined the side as non-playing captain, following a revolt against Leander Paes in 2008, and led the side to many a memorable wins.
The only competition India are likely to face is from Indonesian number one Christopher Rungkat, who is ranked 250.
He’s a good player but in the recent past Sanam Singh, whom India has chosen for the doubles rubbers, had beaten him on the circuit.
Interestingly, Indonesia are not fielding their second-highest ranked player Elbert Sie (888) on day one.
Instead, they chose the less-experienced Wisnu Adi Nugroho (1774) to clash with Yuki (279).
Somdev, who has moved up to 208 in rankings, and Yuki, are in good touch and it would be a surprise if India do not go 2-0 up on Friday.
India have never lost to Indonesia in the Davis Cup, having an impeccable 5-0 head-to-head record. The last tine the two sides clashed was in 1992 in Jakarta.
Although Misra and Somdev have asserted that there was no bad blood in the team, it will be interesting to see how things go since it was these very players, who forced AITA to remove Misra from the captain’s chair.
Somdev, along with 10 other players, had asked AITA to replace Misra with a young candidate.