AITA senses a turnaround

AITA also said that the decision to appoint Zeeshan Ali as coach was non-negotiable as were the other changes to the support staff that the players had initially demanded.

No Amritraj option

With the sports ministry reiterating its previous stand on not allowing foreign nationals to represent India, the doors are shut on Prakash Amritraj to make a comeback into the national squad. The government's clarification that players need an Indian passport to represent the country came after the AITA had sought clarification on whether or not Prakash, a US citizen, can be fielded in the Davis Cup.

AITA clarified that Prakash will not be considered for selection for the February 1-3 Davis Cup tie. "There is no ambiguity on the sports ministry's rules. We had sought for a clarification on the rule regarding foreign nationals but their response is clear. Since Prakash does not hold an Indian passport he is not eligible for selection and we are not considering him," AITA CEO Chatterjee said.

PK Deb, secretary sports, said: "The rule is same as before. You need to have an Indian passport to play for India. If Prakash were to play for India that would be as good as any foreigner representing India."

In a release, the government stated: "The Ministry reiterates its view that a person can represent India in any international competition only if she/he is an Indian passport holder. This view was also articulated earlier in the Ministry's guidelines dated 26.12.2008 and 12.03.2009."

When the rule was first implemented, Prakash was sidelined from India duty as he was not willing to give up his US citizenship. His recent return to competitive tennis and show of form at the Chennai Open, where he beat top-100 players, made his name do the rounds again.

... contd.

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