India have asked the International Tennis Federation (ITF) to shift their upcoming Davis Cup tie from Pakistan to a neutral venue due to escalating political tensions between the two nations. While speaking to ANI, Kiren Rijiju said, "Any bilateral match with Pak will have to get clearance from government but if it's a multilateral event organised by global bodies then we can't take our own isolated stand".
The Jammu and Kashmir (Reorganisation) Bill 2019 was also passed which converted Jammu and Kashmir into two Union Territories - Jammu and Kashmir (with a legislature) and Ladakh (without legislature) and after this decision, Pakistan chose to downgrade diplomatic ties with India. However, with the recent removal of Article 370, political tension has heightened, leading the All India Tennis Association (AITA) to seek a neutral venue from the ITF.
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The India team are scheduled to tour Pakistan capital Islamabad for the Asia/Oceania Group 1 tie to be held on September 14 and 15.
Pakistan has downgraded diplomatic ties with India amid a lockdown in India-administered Kashmir and stopped a cross-border train.
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Chatterjee said that if India opts out of playing against Pakistan, it will invite penalty. However, it is a point to note that all of Pakistan's matches had till recently been held at neutral venues because teams from other countries had refused to travel there because of terrorism and security concerns. Saifullah said the ITF has not yet contacted the PTF on shifting the tie to a neutral venue. It is not a bilateral series, it's a World Cup of tennis so we have to go. The Indian team is to be led by captain Mahesh Bhupati, with the nominated players including Rohan Boppanna, Prajnesh Gunneswaran, Ramkumar Ramanathan, Divij Sharan and Saket Myneni.
It is worth noting that no Indian team has gone to Pakistan to participate in Davis Cup since 1964 and even the bilateral cricketing relationship between the two countries had turned sour after the 2008 terror attacks in Mumbai.
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Mukund was named as the reserve and Zeeshan Ali was announced as the coach of the team.