Veteran Indian tennis legend Mahesh Bhupathi has been named as the new non-playing captain of the Indian Davis Cup team. He will take charge after India plays the Asia/Oceania zone Group-I against New Zealand at home in Pune from February 3-5. Anand Amritraj will be the non-playing captain for one last time against New Zealand. It was reported that AITA was keen to rope in a new non-playing captain, despite the players supporting Amritraj.
12 times Grand Slam champion, Mahesh Bhupathi was the first choice, doing the rounds, as AITA decided to change the supporting staff. AITA Secretary General Hiranmoy Chatterjee interacting with PTI said, “Everybody should get a chance to be captain. No post stays with one person forever. I personally spoke to Mahesh and asked if he is available, he said ‘Yes’. That was it. Also we wanted Anand to be given a farewell tie.”
When asked whether Amritraj was happy with the decision, Chatterjee said, “No one wants to go. But everyone deserves a chance to be the captain.” He was also asked whether the players were taken into confidence as they had played decently under Amritraj, Chatterjee said, “It’s not their prerogative. We don’t need to consult the players. Even Leander Paes was not consulted.”
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Chatterjee in a diplomatic manner replied a controversial question; when he was asked on the history of bitter relationship between Leander and Mahesh and whether the latter’s rise as non-playing captain would pave the end of the road for the former, he said, “We will cross that bridge when it comes.”
On whether Amritraj giving extra freedom to players as far as discipline is concerned, the AITA top official without denying asserted, “When a committee meets, we discuss a lot of things. But let me tell you that we did not receive any letter of support from the players.”
It was made clear that there wasn’t any communication with either Somdev Devvarman or Ramesh Krishnan related to their respective roles as coach and non-playing captain of India.
The AITA Secretary General also clearly said that Mahesh Bhupathi has not demanded any special favours be given to him. He said, “He has not demanded anything and simply said yes to the job. As far as remuneration is concerned he will be paid as per our Davis Cup payment slab.”