Paes stays Davis Cup captain, S.P. Misra is manager

February 29th, 2008 - 1:21 am ICT by admin  

New Delhi, Feb 28 (IANS) Leander Paes will continue to be the playing captain of India’s Davis Cup team and the matter of players revolting against him has been put in “abeyance” till the Olympics, it was decided at an emergency executive committee meeting of the All India Tennis Association (AITA) here Thursday. The meeting, called in the aftermath of a letter by four of Paes’ teammates - Mahesh Bhupathi, Rohan Bopanna, Prakash Amritraj and Karan Rastogi - demanding his removal as captain, formed a two-member committee to look into the issue.

Briefing reporters after the meeting Thursday evening, AITA secretary-general Anil Khanna said it was also decided to appoint Shiv Prasad Misra, a former Davis Cupper who is now a national selector, as manager of the squad for the Japan tie for bringing about better communication among the members of the team.

Khanna said since India have an important Davis Cup tie against Japan in April and the country was looking up to tennis to fetch an Olympic gold, the “sensitive” issue will be decided after the Beijing Games.

“The grievances of the players will be considered, they will be spoken to and the issue will be addressed.

“However, all the players are important for us and we should not bring this matter up before the crucial Davis Cup tie as we are in a good position to qualify for the World Group play-off,” he said.

“We want Mahesh and Leander to keep the issues aside and play in the Olympics and they should show more maturity and magnanimity to remain together to fulfil the aspirations of the tennis fans,” he added.

The two-member committee comprising AITA joint secretary Bharat Ozha and Hiranmay Chatterjee will go into the issues leading to disharmony in the squad.

“They will discuss the issues with the players after the April tie, whatever personal differences they have and then recommend whatever best they feel to AITA. No differences in the team should surface till the Olympics,” he said.

Khanna has also issued a gag order by asking the players not to speak to the media till they have heard from him the reasons for AITA decisions.

“We request the players not to talk to the media before we communicate with them and explain the reasons for the decisions,” he said.

Thursday’s decisions were more or less expected as AITA president Yashwant Sinha made it clear two days ago that there was no question of compromising on discipline. He was obviously reacting to the leaked letter by the players.

Of the four who signed the letter, Rastogi retracted and stated that he was willing to play under any captain though he has issues with Paes.

The players’ revolt led to speculation over the real intention behind their gang-up. Only Amritraj listed his grievances against his captain, but Bhupathi and Bopanna refused to react.

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