By Aakash Kumar
New Delhi, Aug 8 (IANS) A cloud of doubt has gathered over the upcoming Davis Cup tie between India and Pakistan slated to be held in Islamabad next month as tension has mounted between the two Asian neighbours over the decision to revoke Article 370 which granted special status to Jammu and Kashmir.
On Monday, the All India Tennis Association (AITA) selection committee had named the squad which will travel to Pakistan for the Group I tie scheduled to be held in Islamabad on September 14-15.
However, after the Parliament scrapped Article 35A and Article 370 of the Constitution on Tuesday, Pakistan has decided to downgrade relations with India.
AITA Secretary General Hironmoy Chatterjee on Thursday said that presently, the conditions are not conducive to play in Pakistan and that’s why they will wait for a couple of days and will then request the International Tennis Federation (ITF) to shift the Davis Cup tie from Islamabad to a neutral venue.
“We will wait for two days to see how the situation is and will then approach the ITF to if possible, shift the venue to a neutral place so that players can play comfortably. Right now, the situation is not very conducive for the players to go and play in Pakistan,” Chatterjee told IANS.
If India don’t play the ties, they will be slapped with a fine like Hong Kong were after they refused to play an away tie in Pakistan. They were not only fined but also relegated to a lower division.
An Indian tennis team last went to Pakistan in 1964, with the visitors securing a 4-0 victory.
Since the draw was out in February, there was a lot of talk around India going to Pakistan in the wake of the Pulwama attack and the strained political ties between the countries.
But after the ITF gave Pakistan the green signal to host the Davis Cup tie at the grass courts of the Pakistan Sports Complex in Islamabad, AITA started the process of checking player availability and sorting visa applications.
The sports ministry also cleared the Indian team’s participation in the tie.
Both the teams have not met each other since 2006 in the Davis Cup.
(Aakash Kumar can be contacted at [email protected])