India Vs Pakistan, Davis Cup: Zeeshan Ali Doubles Up As Non-Playing Captain Of India

Indian Davis Cup team has arrived in Islamabad after 60 years to play the World Group 1 tie against Pakistan, with coach Zeeshan Ali doubling his role as AITA announced him as the non-playing captain

Zeeshan Ali Tennis Academy
Indian Davis Cup Team coach Zeeshan Ali Photo: Zeeshan Ali Tennis Academy

India coach Zeeshan Ali will double up as the non-playing captain of the national Davis Cup team in its historic tie against Pakistan scheduled on February 2 and 3 here, after Rohit Rajpal failed to travel with the side due to personal reasons. (Streaming | More Tennis News)

This was confirmed to PTI by All India Tennis Federation (AITA) secretary general Anil Dhupar. 

However, it has been learnt that Rajpal didn't travel to Pakistan due to a medical issue in the family. 

"Our non-playing captain Rohit Rajpal couldn't travel with the team due to some personal reasons. I am happy to inform you that today we have appointed Zeeshan Ali, a very senior player, as the captain of the side," Dhupar told PTI on Tuesday here.

"He (Zeeshan) will be the captain for this tie and firmly believe that India would put up a strong performance under his captaincy in Pakistan." 

The Indian Davis Cup team has travelled to Pakistan for the first time in 60 years. The 10-member contingent, including five players, support staff and coaches, arrived here on Monday for the World Group 1 playoff tie, to be held between February 3-4 at the grass courts of Pakistan Sports Complex.

The Indian Davis Cup team had last travelled to Pakistan way back in 1964 when the visitors won 4-0 in Lahore. 

In 2019, India was scheduled to travel to Pakistan for the Davis Cup tie but AITA managed to shift the contest to a neutral venue, Kazakhstan, citing diplomatic tensions between the two countries. 

In the absence of the country's top-ranked singles player Sumit Nagal -- fresh from his second-round finish at the Australian Open -- and Sasikumar Mukund who pulled out of the tie last month itself, world No. 463 Ramkumar Ramanathan will spearhead the Indian contingent. 

Besides Mukund, Yuki Bhambri, who is now a full-time doubles player, might play the singles if required. 

The India team also consists of N Sriram Balaji, Niki Poonacha and Saketh Myneni

with Digvijay Pratap Singh, who made his debut against Morocco in India's last Davis Cup assignment in Lucknow in September, being the reserve player in the squad.

Pakistan's contingent's challenge will be headlined by two 43-year-olds. Aisam-ul-Haq Qureshi ranked World No. 127 in doubles and Aqeel Khan, who had played a lot of ITF tournaments across Indian cities even a decade and a half back. 

 Also, there is 23-year-old Muzammil Murtaza, ranked 1679, who will be a part of the team.