New Delhi: Former US Open finalist and two- time Olympian Rohan Bopanna has been dropped from the Indian Davis Cup squad for the tie against New Zealand in Pune from February 3-5.
Earlier, Indian tennis legend Mahesh Bhupathi was named the new non-playing captain of the Davis Cup team.
The AITA selection committee comprising S P Misra, Rohit Rajpal, Nandan Bal, Zeeshan Ali and secretary Hiranmoy Chatterjee decided that Leander Paes and Saketh Myneni will be the preferred choice for their good show against Rafael Nadal and Marc Lopez in the previous Davis Cup tie against Spain.
While Bopanna's world ranking is 28, Paes is currently 59 and Myneni is 210 in the ATP doubles ranking list.
"Picking Rohan blocks a place for a third singles player that we wanted to have in the squad. Also Leander and Saketh were brilliant against Spain. But whenever Leander and Rohan have played together, they have not done well. Take Czech Republic tie as an example," national selector Misra told reporters here on Thursday.
"The other factor being Rohan being an ad court player. Even Saketh is an ad court player while Leander prefers deuce court (right side of the court). If we pick Rohan and Saketh, then we have two ad court players. Even Rohan and Saketh have not done well as a pair," Misra said.
He, however, informed that Rohan had informed the committee that he is available for this tie.
"Look we don't know how long Leander (43 years) will be playing. Rohan (36 years) is much younger and he can always make a comeback."
Asked about Somdev Devvarman, Misra said that he has not been playing any tournament for a long time.
"He has not played any tournament for a long time. First he has to make a comeback to the competitive tennis and then deliver results," he said.
India's squad for New Zealand tie will witness Yuki Bhambri's comeback with Myneni and Ramkumar Ramanathan being the other two.
Yuki's comeback means that Sumit Nagal has also been axed from the squad. The fifth player in the squad is left handed Prajnesh Gunneswaran, who comes in very handy during practice with his booming serves.
Two youngsters Adil Kalyanpur and Nitin Kumar Sinha will get valuable exposure practising with the squad.
The selection committee also named a provisional squad for Fed Cup Asia/Oceania group 1 event that will take place in Astana in Kazakhstan from February 6.
Sania Mirza has been kept in the squad as of now. It also comprises Ankita Raina, Snehadevi Reddy, Karman Thandi, Riya Bhatia, Prarthana Thombare.