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I am still captain unless I hear otherwise: Bhupathi

08 November 2019

The tie will be held on November 29 and 30.

On Monday, hours before the International Tennis Federation (ITF) announced that the India-Pakistan tie which was to be played in Islamabad will be shifted to a neutral location, the AITA announced that incumbent Mahesh Bhupathi would be replaced by former player Rohit Rajpal as India's non-playing captain.

Meanwhile, AITA has lashed out at players criticising the governing body for appointing a non-playing captain, saying it is not their decision to make.

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"I even hold not heard from the AITA since Monday or after the ITF addressed the gamers considerations on venue and licensed a fair role - so I'm on hand and imagine in am gentle captain except I hear otherwise! One needs to realise that when players represent their country, there is much more than just the skill they bring on court", Bopanna tweeted. "Being a top professional and victor of countless global and national titles, it hurts me and all those, who want to help Pakistan tennis and want players to flourish, but the federation is in no mood to use commonsense", he added.

The ITF also said that safety of players, officials and spectators has always been its first priority and the decision to shift the venue was made on this basis. And in this case, at least informed.

Responding to Bopanna's feedback, AITA Secretary-Common Hironmoy Chatterjee stated gamers' job is to play and never intrude in administrative issues. It is understood that the AITA wasn't entirely happy about the captain refusing national duty. Players are supposed to play if selected, they are not supposed to comment on selection matters. "So I classify it as politics", Saifullah said. "As per the Davis Cup Regulations, the Pakistan Tennis Federation (PTF) has now the choice to nominate a neutral venue and has five working days to confirm their proposed venue, which will be announced once the choice has been submitted and approved", it concluded. Chatterjee revealed that Bhupathi's contract was already over and he was given an extension for the previous tie against Italy in February in Kolkata.

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Sources say, Paes could also be paired with left-handed Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan, who has made a mark on the doubles circuit in the past two years. Rather Mahesh Bhupathi has refused to accept this decision of AITA and decided his captaincy.

"Why are the players commenting on this?" "If the ITF plans, for instance, to treat a medium-risk country as a high-risk one and so forth, how are we going to pick a suitable venue?" I think the ITF should have let the tie in September, as nothing was wrong in Pakistan and Islamabad, but it was a well-planned and well-written script by the Indian Tennis Federation and they were fully backed by the ITF. On Wednesday, he told that Rohit Rajpal can captain the team against Pakistan. There was the whole venue controversy, with the top Indian players, including Bhupathi and Bopanna, not willing to make the trip to Islamabad over security concerns.

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I am still captain unless I hear otherwise: Bhupathi