In the away World Group I match against Norway on Thursday, Sumit Nagal returned to the Indian Davis Cup team, but doubles specialist Divij Sharan was benched after falling behind in the standings.
As expected, the selection committee lead by Nandan Bal chose four specialised singles players, including the nation’s top singles player Ramkumar Ramanathan (ranked 196), Prajnesh Gunneswaran (295), Sasikumar Mukund (431), Yuki Bhambri (571), and doubles prodigy Rohan Bopanna (21).
Yuki is ranked above Arjun Kadhe (519) and Sidharth Rawat (566), but if the Delhi player uses his Protected Ranking, he would be in the top 100. And given Yuki’s class, having a player of his calibre on the side only makes sense.
On September 16 and 17, a five-person team will compete. Captain Rohit Rajpal will name one player from the group of six as a reserve after evaluating the circumstances in Norway.
Sasikumar, who has not yet participated in a Davis Cup match, will likely act as a backup.
As of April of this year, Sumit Nagal, who had hip surgery in November 2021, started racing on the circuit. Nagal has prevailed four times in eight competitions this year.
The Haryana-born player, 24, didn’t participate in the following matches against Finland (September 2021) and Denmark after his last Davis Cup encounter against Croatia in March 2021. (March 2022).
Divij no longer ranks among the top 100 doubles players. In addition to Rohan Bopanna, who is now rated first in India, there are seven more Indian players who are ranked higher than him.
India and Norway will be playing one other in a Davis Cup match for the first time.
India had defeated Denmark 4-0 in the World Group Playoffs in March of this year in New Delhi.
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