Host India has been seeded seventh and finds itself in the same group as top seed Australia, Pakistan and Indonesia, in the Asia-Oceania Junior Davis Cup under-16 boys’ tennis to be played at the DLTA Complex from Monday.
India, which strengthened itself with the last minute inclusion of Bushan Haobam, ranked 259 in the world under-18 list, opens its campaign against Pakistan on Monday.
With 166th ranked Rushil Khosla and Debasis Sahoo as other members, India will try to win one of the three spots from the zone for the World Group.
Quite understandably, Vansh Nandal — who was originally named in the team — was heart broken to hear his exclusion on Saturday night. It was at a preparatory camp that Bushan won all his ‘trial’ matches, but he does not play the under-16 circuit at all.
“Our idea is to field the best team,” said national coach Zeeshan Ali, who had supervised the preparatory camp for the squad.
When it was pointed out that the girls’ team last week did not undergo any such trial after the team selection, Zeeshan stressed that the three best girls were already part of the team.
Sajid Lodi, the captain, expressed confidence that the team would play its best in its attempt to progress further from the zone.
India’s first target would be to qualify for the knock-out stage from the group. The top two teams from each of the four groups will make the quarterfinals.
Like in the girls’ event, the Junior Billie Jean King Cup, it will only be three teams that will qualify for the World Group stage from the Asia-Oceania zone.
The president of the Asian Tennis Federation (ATF), Kitsombat Euammongkol and vice president Iroda Tulyaganova, former women’s world No.16, were the guests of honour at the opening ceremony on Sunday.
The groupings: Group-A: Australia, Indonesia, Pakistan, India.
Group-B: Iran, Malaysia, Syria, Singapore.
Group-C: Kazakhstan, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Thailand.
Group-D: Japan, Uzbekistan, Korea, Hong Kong.