Mahesh Bhupathi is quite peeved over the fact that hours before the International Tennis Federation (ITF) decided to shift the venue of the Davis Cup tie between India and Pakistan to a neutral venue, he was stripped off his captaincy.
The veteran Indian tennis star tweeted on Wednesday that the captaincy tag was taken off since he was uncomfortable to travel to Pakistan but admitted that he’s still available and believed that he was still the captain until told otherwise.
The All India Tennis Association on Monday named Rohit Rajpal, a former India player and chairman of the national tennis federation’s selection panel, as the non-playing captain after Bhupathi also refused to travel to Pakistan citing security concerns for the Davis Cup Asia/Oceania Group I tie.
“To everyone so concerned for my thoughts and comments. All I know is from a phone call with Mr. Chaterjee (AITA Secretary General Hironmoy Chatterjee) on Monday where I was told that Rohit is replacing me as captain because I wasn’t comfortable going to Pakistan (love the country been there before – not this time),” Bhupathi tweeted.
“I have not heard from the AITA since Monday or after the ITF addressed the players concerns on venue and approved a neutral location – so I am available and believe in am still captain unless I hear otherwise! Glad to “comment” when I know what I know,” he added.
Earlier, another senior player Rohan Bopanna, who also had refused to tour the neighbouring country, tweeted on Tuesday expressing his surprise over AITA changing the captain before International Tennis Federation (ITF) shifted the Asia/Oceania Group I tie from Islamabad to a neutral venue.
Meanwhile, AITA has lashed out at players criticising the governing body for appointing a non-playing captain, saying it is not their decision to make.
“It is not the players’ prerogative to comment on administrative matters,” AITA Secretary General Hironmoy Chatterjee told IANS.
“They were not supposed to be informed. It is the committee’s decision at the Annual General Meeting (AGM). I spoke to him and I feel he is overstepping,” said Chatterjee.
Asked if he had a word with Bhupathi, Chatterjee said: “I had a word with Mahesh. Our job is to inform them about our decisions and that’s what I did.”
The tie will be held on November 29 and 30. The tie was earlier scheduled to be held on September 14-15 but was postponed to November after a security review by the ITF in August.