Davis Cup: Somdev, Yuki, Sanam return to squad, Bhupathi, Bopanna ignored

Yuki Bhambri

Looking at the future, national selectors today drafted three singles specialists in Somdev Devvarman, Yuki Bhambri and Sanam Singh in the Indian Davis Cup squad and effectively ended Mahesh Bhupathi's India-career by ignoring him for the upcoming tie against Indonesia.

Leander Paes, the highest-ranked at number 8, was the only doubles specialist in the team as the selectors continued to ignore Bhupathi (10) and Rohan Bopanna (12).

Paes is likely to be paired with Sanam, who won Guangzhou Asian Games doubles gold medal with Somdev.

The selection committee also named Vijayant Malik and N Sriram Balaji as reserves while Ram Kumar Ramnathan and Arjun Kadhe were also picked for practice.

S P Misra was retained as non-playing captain but the Indonesia tie will be his last.

Somdev had led a players' revolt demanding better playing conditions, making themselves unavailable for the Korea tie, which India lost 1-4.

The rebellion ended partially when AITA agreed to most of the players' demands and players made themselves available for selection for the Indonesia tie in Bangalore from April 5-7.

Bhupathi has publicly said that 2013 would be his last playing year and barring a catastrophic result it would also be India's last Davis Cup tie of the year, hence Bhupathi may not get a chance to represent the country again.

The selectors reasoned that it made sense in picking three singles players because if there are only two singles players and one of them picks up an injury the doubles player was forced to play singles.

"We are trying to focus on three singles players. And all three (selected) players are good doubles players as well. Mahesh Bhupathi and Rohan Bopanna are also good doubles players but Leander Paes is highest ranked," AITA Secretary General Bharat Oza said.

Asked if it ends Bhupathi's India career, Oza told PTI that it was not the case. "We are not saying this. We will see when we have the next tie."

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