New Delhi, Aug 5: Saketh Myneni, who can play both singles and doubles, returned to the Indian Davis Cup team, which will travel to Pakistan for the Group I tie, as the AITA selection committee picked the squad on expected lines.
There was no scope for surprises with top singles and doubles players being automatic selection. Prajnesh Gunneswaran and Ramkumar Ramanathan will lead the singles challenge while Rohan Bopanna and Divij Sharan will make the doubles pair for the grass court tie, scheduled to be held in Islamabad on September 14-15.
Since Sumit Nagal has made himself unavailable, citing an injury, the five-member committee, led by Rohit Rajpal, picked Myneni, the next best player on ranking charts. Young and talented Sasi Kumar Mukund was selected as a reserve member. While Rajpal and Balram Singh sat in the meeting, Zeeshan Ali and Nandan Bal attended it via tele conference.
Myneni did not feature in India's last tie, when the country hosted Italy on grass courts of Calcutta South Club last year in September, losing 1-3. He last played in September 2018 when India travelled to Serbia for the World Group Play-offs, losing in straight sets with Bopanna to Nikola Milojevic and Danilo Petrovic.
Myneni, 31, won the doubles title at the Chengdu Challenger last week with compatriot Arjun Kadhe but has not got the best of singles results this season with just one semifinal appearance (Jerusalem) in 14 tournaments on the Challenger Tour.
India have never lost to Pakistan in six Davis Cup contests so far and the clean record is likely to remain, considering that Pakistan does not even have one singles player who is ranked on the ATP chart. India's Prajnesh is ranked 90 in the world while Ramkumar is placed 184. Myneni is 271.
Aisam ul haq Qureshi is world number 55 in doubles. Bopanna and Aisam once formed a formidable team, dubbed Indo-Pak Express by media. They made the US Open final in 2010, losing to legendary Bryan brothers -- Mike and Bob. The winner of the tie will qualify for the next year's World Group Qualifiers.
Indian Sqaud: Prajnesh Gunneswaran, Ramkumar Ramanathan, Saketh Myneni, Rohan Bopanna and Divij Sharan.
Captain: Mahesh Bhupathi
Coach: Zeeshan Ali