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Invest in this lot, they’ll do us proud

india Updated: Jan 08, 2010 01:46 IST
Sukhwant Basra

There's hunger in the air. Perhaps it's the mood of this generation, possibly it's the cockiness that's comes from taking on the world and knowing one can hold his own. Or perhaps, finally, it is the emergence of a bunch of players that dream huge but, more importantly, finally know just what it takes to turn fantasy into fact.

Somdev Devvarman, Sanam Singh and Yuki Bhambri are most likely to form the future core of the Indian Davis Cup team.

All three are distinct personalities --- as different as lassi and rasam. Somdev is the in-your-face straight-talking fresh face. Sanam's the introvert. Yuki exudes a don't-mess-with-me air. But put them out on court under the arc lights and see them become one — possessed with winning, loath to give any quarter.

After Somdev's poor showing against Janko Tipsarevic the tongues are already admonishing and the pens dismissive. Few realise that he is making huge changes in his game. The serve's a work in progress, the groundstrokes are being cast afresh in a more aggressive mould and the hardcore baseliner is looking to foray towards the net. Dismiss him at your own peril.

Sanam has grown both in game and the legs after his two-year stint at the University of Virginia.

He meets the ball far earlier and now hugs the baseline like a gecko on steroids. The former junior world number four always had great hands but now, the feet too whiz.

The way he and Somdev combined in their opening doubles match, it is possible to hope that there are assured Davis Cup doubles wins beyond the incredible combo of Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi.

When he was being ragged, Yuki told a senior Davis Cup member during the South African tie: "There will be teeth broken and they won't be mine." At 17 he has the aggression and the confidence to take on the bigger ones both on and off the court.

By beating world number 120, Iilya Marchenko, in the qualifying draw here, Yuki notched the best win ever by an Indian at his age in recent times.

The junior Australian Open champion has been ranked number one in the world amongst the boys.

All three have tapped world-class trainers to kill their happiness in the gym --- a hitherto alien concept for most of our juniors.

However, no matter what they promise they just can't achieve anything sans significant financial investment in these formative years. A sum to the tune of a crore a year per player is not outlandish.

The national federation has till now allowed talent to flounder for want of hard cash. It would be criminal if these three rough diamonds don't sparkle for want of funds.

The time to invest in them is now, they will do India proud.