Davis Cup: Sasi Mukund pulls out of Pakistan tie
Young Sasi Kumar Mukund on Saturday pulled out of the upcoming Davis Cup tie against Pakistan due to a foot injury, making it a six-member Indian squad that will travel to Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan. A three-day training camp concluded with a high-intensity session at the DLTA here on Saturday. Mukund, who was named as a reserve member, suffered the injury while playing a tournament in Portugal.
“Unfortunately Sasi will not travel with us. He has informed that he sustained the injury while playing the doubles with compatriot Purav Raja,” India’s Davis Cup coach Zeeshan Ali told PTI during the team’s practice session. Mukund is the second Indian player to pull out of the tie days after Rohan Bopanna withdrew due to a shoulder injury.
“I hurt myself. I can’t put my weight down properly due to the injury,” said Mukund. Zeeshan said they wanted N Sriram Balaji to travel to Nur-Sultan but getting visa at such a short notice won’t be possible. All the Indian players will receive their visas at the Nur-Sultan airport. Balaji was not named in the eight-member squad but he has been at the training camp since Thursday to help the side prepare.
“We have seen in the past when players refused to be with the side if they were not in playing squad but Balaji really did well to help the side prepare. He was not even named in initial eight-man squad, but he still chose to come when requested. “With him joining, the doubles practice was really high-quality. We appreciate what Bala did,” added Zeeshan.
Paes and Jeevan, the likely pair for the tie, played against Saketh Myneni and Balaji while Ramkumar hit with Siddharth Rawat. Sumit Nagal practiced only on Friday as he had prior commitments.
With the legendary Paes around, the camp attracted a lot of attention from the fans, who kept the players busy with requests for autographs and photographs. Captain Rohit Rajpal, who was busy working out the doubles combination during the session, rued Mukund’s absence.
“It is always good to have different training partners in an away tie. You need that variety in the side. It’s unfortunate,” Rajpal said. Talking about the doubles combination, Rajpal said they are trying both Saketh Myneni and Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan to pair with Leander Paes. “We still feel, Aisam and Aqeel may turn up for Pakistan so we are preparing all combinations. If a player like Saketh is there, Leander can dominate from the net,” he said.
“If Jeevan is playing with Leander then probably, it’s better Leander takes care of the back side of the court since Jeevan is quick. So we are trying everything.”