India to send Davis Cup team to Pakistan for the first time since 1964

An Indian tennis team will travel to Pakistan for a Davis Cup tie in September for the first time in 55 years. India last toured Pakistan in 1964 for the Davis Cup when they defeated the hosts 4-0, while Pakistan lost 3-2 during their last visit in 2006 in Mumbai.

The Indian cricket team suspended bilateral cricketing ties with Pakistan in 2008 and sports teams generally do not participate in events in the neighbouring country. However, as per the All India Tennis Association (AITA) Secretary General, Hironmoy Chatterjee, government clearance for this was not required as “it's not a bilateral series, it's the World Cup of tennis.”

Rohan Bopanna and Divij Sharan. Photo courtesy: Twitter/@rohanbopanna
Rohan Bopanna and Divij Sharan. Photo courtesy: Twitter/@rohanbopanna

The Davis Cup squad will be announced by August 5, more than a month before the September 14-15 Group I Asia/Oceania fixture in Islamabad. 

India’s No. 1 player Prajnesh Gunneswaran and Ramkumar Ramanathan are likely to be the singles choices with Yuki Bhambri and Sumit Nagal injured, while Rohan Bopanna and Divij Sharan will be the doubles pair.

Non-playing captain Mahesh Bhupathi and coach Zeeshan Ali, whose contracts ended with India's 1-3 loss to Italy in the Davis Cup Qualifiers in February this year, will continue for the Pakistan leg, as their replacements have not been discussed yet.

The tie will be held on the grass courts of the Pakistan Sports Complex in Islamabad with the winners entering the 2020 Qualifiers. 

India are 20th in Davis Cup rankings, well ahead of the 37th placed Pakistan and hold a 6-0 record, of which two wins have been on grass.