Rajpal named non-player captain for Davis Cup draw against Pakistan

CHANDIGARH: The All India Tennis Association (AITA) at its annual general meeting (AGM) here on Monday named former player Rohit Rajpal as the non-player captain of India for the next trip Davis cup draw against Pakistan.

Rajpal, who is also the president of the national selection panel, was named after Mahesh Bhupathi retired, citing security reasons.

I am honored to lead my country. Obviously, it is a challenging draw. It is not easy to play in Pakistan in the current scenario. The idea is to join the team and win the draw, Rajpal told TOI after the AGM.

The tie was scheduled to be held in September, but it was delayed when India expressed concern about the safety of its players due to the diplomatic tension prevailing between the two nations. Players who retire for security reasons are a major concern. It is natural to be concerned about safety. But I sincerely hope that children keep the country's interest above that. There should be no discussion when the country calls him to duty, said the 49-year-old, who had won an ITF tournament in Islamabad during his playing days. I will talk to all the players and try to convince them, he added.

Commenting on the security aspect, Rajpal said: It is being monitored daily by International Tennis Federation . As far as we are concerned, we are mentally prepared to go to Pakistan.

The newly appointed employer also confirmed that the veteran Leander Paes It will be available for the draw. Lee is the first to make himself available. With him on my side, I will be more comfortable. In a couple of days, the team will be announced because there is hardly any time left for the draw, said Rajpal, who is also a member of BJP's Delhi unit.

Speaking about the playing conditions in Pakistan, Rajpal said: We are playing in Islamabad, so the draw will take place on the grass court and will be the best of the three sets. We are also planning to organize a camp in Delhi. We are looking for weed and if pollution allows, we will have a one week session.

He said the team's travel dates will not be disclosed due to security reasons.

There is no certainty about Rajpal's tenure as the Davis cup captain. "I have no clue about it. For now, AITA has given me responsibility to lead the team against Pakistan and my entire focus is on the tie. As far as tenure is concerned, it depends on the team's performance," he signed off.