Without an iota of doubt, India have fielded an inexperienced team for the Davis Cup tie against South Korea, but the best thing about the side is that the players and the support staff are realistic.
The players, captain SP Misra and coach Zeeshan Ali have started the preparations for the big challenge ahead as the team slugged it out at the RK Khanna stadium.
Former national champion VM Ranjeet, Vijayant Malik, who will be in action on Day One of the tie on Friday, and reserves — Arjun Kadhe and Ashwin Vijayragha-van — trained under the watchful eyes of Misra and Zeeshan.
Leander Paes and Purav Raja are yet to join the team although they have started practicing together in Mumbai.
For Misra it was business as usual, while Zeeshan, for whom it is his first assignment with the national team, it was more about establishing a rapport with the players.
Misra, when asked if he was emotional since it would be his last assignment as captain, said, “Nobody can go on forever. Players and captains come and go. The game goes on.”
The rebel players had demanded that the captain be changed to which the AITA agreed, but the national body chose to give Misra a farewell tie and also did not accede to the players’ choice of captain.
Asked how he rates the players at his disposal, Misra said, “They are of the same standard who played in the New Zealand tie. The only thing is that they are inexperienced, have not played five-set matches. So it is a huge challenge to deliver. I am expecting that at least we will win one singles on Day One. We have a fair chance.”
Ranjeet had just finished his first session with Kadhe, but he was ready to give his best shot in the tie. “Playing for India is huge,” said Ranjeet.
Ask him about the controversy and he refuses to comment. “I have no clue what’s happening.