Tennis

Davis Cup: Prajnesh and Ramkumar to lead the Indian challenge

Trump cards: The higher-ranked Ramkumar Ramanathan and Prajnesh Gunneswaran should ensure a good showing for India against Pakistan.

Trump cards: The higher-ranked Ramkumar Ramanathan and Prajnesh Gunneswaran should ensure a good showing for India against Pakistan.  

The team will take on host Pakistan in Islamabad on Sept. 14 and 15

Prajnesh Gunneswaran and Ramkumar Ramanathan will spearhead the Indian team in the Davis Cup Asia-Oceania group-1 tie against Pakistan to be staged in Islamabad on September 14 and 15.

Saketh Myneni, Rohan Bopanna and Divij Sharan will be the other members of the five-member squad, in which the 292nd-ranked Sasi Kumar Mukund has been drafted as reserve player.

With the 196th-ranked Sumit Nagal ruling himself out with injury, which restricted the choice for the selection committee, Myneni was the next best singles player with a rank of 271.

The three best singles players available and the two best doubles players were chosen on the basis of their international rank. Bopanna and Divij had won the Asian Games gold last year.

Ranking difference

While Prajnesh is ranked 90 in the world and Ramkumar 184, Pakistan has no player in the top 1350. Its best ranked singles player is Ahmed Choudhary at Tied-1387. Pakistan has Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi as the doubles specialist, who has slipped to No. 55 in the world.

The seasoned Aqeel Khan has been travelling to the Grand Slams as Aisam’s hitting partner. He may be ranked 1489 in singles and 2096 in doubles, but Aqeel can really compete hard, especially in Davis Cup.

In the last Davis Cup tie between India and Pakistan in Mumbai in 2006, Leander Paes won the decisive fifth rubber, 6-4, 7-6(4), 3-6, 0-6, 6-1 against Aqeel Khan, on grass at the Brabourne Stadium.

India has a 6-0 record against Pakistan in Davis Cup. India has lost only four rubbers while winning 22 spread over the six ties, starting from 1962.

The new regional format that has been in practice for some time, has only two days of play.

The first day features two singles matches in the ‘best of three set’ format.

The second day will start with the doubles and will be followed by the two reverse singles.

The team: Prajnesh Gunneswaran, Ramkumar Ramanathan, Saketh Myneni, Rohan Bopanna, Divij Sharan. Reserve: Sasi Kumar Mukund. Captain: Mahesh Bhupathi; Coach: Zeeshan Ali.

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Printable version | May 25, 2020 11:14:07 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/tennis/prajnesh-and-ramkumar-to-lead-the-indian-challenge/article28826625.ece

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