Kazakhstan has emerged the front-runner to host the Davis Cup tie between India and Pakistan but it will not feature senior player Rohan Bopanna, who has pulled out of the tournament due to a shoulder injury. Bopanna, 39, underwent an MRI scan on Monday evening and informed captain Rohit Rajpal about his unavailability.

Bopanna, who was supposed to partner Leander Paes in the doubles match on November 29 and 30, has been replaced by Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan, who was included as one of the reserves in the eight-member squad announced by AITA (All India Tennis Association) and been knocking on the door with consistent performances in the ATP tour.

It’s disappointing not to have Rohan in the side. But we want him to protect his shoulder. He needs shots (injection) for treatment. We have an able replacement in Jeevan. He has done well on the Tour and we will have a good left-right combination,” Rajpal told PTI.

As for Kazakhstan replacing Islamabad as the venue to host India-Pakistan matches, AITA secretary general Hiramnoy Chatterjee informed that the International Tennis Federation had directed them to begin visa preparations for Kazakhstan. The international body had announced that the matches be shifted to a neutral venue after constant pressure from AITA and had given the Pakistan Tennis Federation five days to propose an alternate venue. However, since PTF couldn’t come up with an option, ITF took the call of allocating the matches in the capital of Nur-Sultan.

“The ITF has asked us to begin visa procedures for Kazakhstan for our players and staff and also forwarded us a list of hotels,” Chatterjee told ESPN. “So it looks quite certain now that, that’s where the tie is going to be played. Pakistan didn’t pick a venue though they had the choice, so the ITF did that job.”