Somdev, Yuki may return

After weeks of rebellion, leading Indian tennis players will be available for selection for the April 5-7 Davis Cup Asia-Oceania Group I relegation play-off tie against Indonesia in Bangalore.

The selection committee will meet here on Saturday afternoon to decide on the six players who will play the tie. The top 11 players led by Somdev Devvarman boycotted the tie against South Korea earlier this month which India lost 1-4.

Though most of their demands were met by the AITA, it is unlikely that the federation will replace the existing team captain S P Misra, who was initially supposed to bid farewell after the Korea tie. Having a new coach and captain was one of sticking points between the players and the AITA.

Zeeshan Ali was appointed the coach of the Davis Cup team after the players asked to replace Nandan Bal. “As of now, there will be no change in coach and the captain,” an AITA official said. “S P Misra will be attending the meeting tomorrow.”

Somdev, who missed most of the action last year because of a shoulder injury, is back in form and would be in the reckoning. He had been giving good fight to top ranked players including 26th- ranked Jerzy Janowicz of Poland, whom he stretched to five sets in the Australian Open. He took it a step further beating World No 39 Benoit Paire of France a couple of days ago.

Once a top-60 player in the world, Somdev’s ranking dipped to 354 after his nearly 10 months absence from the circuit last year. Yuki Bhambri, at 257, is the top-ranked Indian player now, and is likely to be the other singles player.

For the doubles, India have a specialist in Leander Paes. It though would be no surprise if Vishnu Vardhan gets selected to be his partner. It looks unlikely that either Mahesh Bhupathi or Rohan Bopanna would be recalled. Vishnu had injured his knee in Mumbai recently and selectors would take a call after going through his fitness report.

Meanwhile, the three-member committee appointed by the AITA to look into the players’ issue met here on Friday.

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