The All India Tennis Association (AITA) has been forced to name a depleted squad for the Davis Cup tie against South Korea from February 1 to 3, snubbing the eight revolting players who have refused to make themselves available.
Those who revolted had been given time till yesterday to confirm their availability for the tie but they stood steadfast and the AITA went with the option of choosing a squad that has one senior player in Leander Paes. The team now comprises V M Ranjit, Vijayant Malik and Purav Raja besides Paes himself. The rebels wanted the non-playing captain S P Misra, and Zeeshan Ali the coach replaced.
In India, tales about sporting bodies and administrators wielding a disproportionate amount of power may be exaggerated, but many are, in fact, founded in fact.
Today though it is not about officials vs player, or who is right and who is wrong. What is surprising is that the AITA and players could not come to an agreement, even though the apex body claims it met the players’ demand half-way. There should have been a greater effort made to find a point of reconciliation so that AITA is not forced to choose what even euphemistically can be described as a second string team, save for the ageing warhorse, Leander Paes.
If both sides could not hammer out a compromise, maybe a mediator could have helped to bring both players and organisation to the table so that things could have been sorted out. The AITA also needed to talk to the players, invite them for a dialogue so as to reach some kind of middle path on the problem.
Finally, it is the country that is paying a price for this deadlock as Davis Cup is all about playing for the tri-colour. Shame, set and no match, Indian tennis.