Indian tennis legend Mahesh Bhupathi was, on Thursday, named the new non-playing captain of the Davis Cup team and will take charge after the Asia/Oceania zone group I home tie against New Zealand in Pune from February 3 to 5.
The tie against New Zealand will be Anand Amritraj’s last tie as non-playing captain since AITA wants to give him a “farewell”. Multiple Grand Slam winner Bhupathi was the hot favourite the moment AITA decided to replace Amritraj.
“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,” AITA Secretary General Hiranmoy Chatterjee said.
Asked if Amritraj is happy with the decision, Chatterjee tersely replied: “No one wants to go. But everyone deserves a chance to be the captain.”
Asked if players were taken into confidence since they had rallied around Amritraj, Chatterjee replied: “It’s not their prerogative. We don’t need to consult the players. Even Leander Paes was not consulted.”
Asked about the history of strained relationship between Leander and Mahesh and whether the latter’s elevation would prove to be end of the road for the former, Chatterjee said: “We will cross that bridge when it comes.”
On whether Amritraj giving leeway to players as far as discipline is concerned was an issue along with his views in media, the AITA top official did not deny.
“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,” he asserted.
Chatterjee also said that there was no communication with either Somdev Devvarman or Ramesh Krishnan regarding the coach’s and non-playing captain’s role.
Chatterjee also said that Bhupathi has not demanded any special favours. “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,” he said.