ISLAMABAD- Pakistan Tennis Federation (PTF) is in a fix over the selection of fourth player for the important Asia-Oceania Group-II tie againstVietnamstarting from February 14-16 inVietnam, afterPakistantennis ace Aisam's un-availability due to international commitments.
The inside sources have confirmed to this scribe that the federation was running from pillar to post to get out of the prevailing situation. “The PTF has first requested the International Tennis Federation (ITF) to reschedule the tie and give one-week extension, but the ITF turned down the PTF request terming it too late to be entertained,” the sources added.
“Being fully aware about the Pakistan available squad for the Davis Cup tie, the PTF top man contacted former Davis Cupper Tayyab Iftikhar, father of Davis Cupper Samir Iftikhar, who is currently on sports scholarship in USA, and requested him to make Samir available for the important fixture. After getting desired response from father of Samir, the high-profile personality will now contact the PTF president Dr Syed Kaleem Imam, who is currently inSudanto seek his approval for including Samir as the fourth player. The ball is now in Kaleem Imam's court, if he grants permission, the PTF will send formal request to Samir’s university to get his services,” the sources asserted.
The sources further said that it was very likely Samir would get nod of approval from his university, as currently there were winter holidays, there was still a huge mountain to climb even if the PTF president gave go ahead to include Samir in the squad, firstly there would be strong retaliation from PTF secretary Mumtaz Yousaf, who is uncle of Usman Ejaz, who is under current circumstances the beneficiary, as he was fifth in the trials matches conducted for the selection on two available spots in the team and secondly, the PTF could have to face backlash from Pakistan's top player Aqeel Khan, who had developed serious differences with Samir in the past and still not ready to play alongside the young lad.
“We have to understand the harsh reality and that is Pakistan's one and only real chance of winning singles and doubles matches solely rest on the shoulders of Aqeel and if Samir is included,l it would enhance chances of winning the tie for Pakistan, as he had experience of playing at that level previously and he was in great form as he enjoyed continuous rise in his university singles rankings, where he had won a title and beaten world number 20 en route to grab the prestigious title. Samir also helped his university to achieve new heights for the last few years by winning crunch matches.
“Now it is the time when instead of taking not more than liabilities for playing Davis Cup tie, the federation must decide in the best interests of the country and make bold decision by including Samir in the squad to stand any realistic chance of winning the tie, otherwise, it's a lost cause. Kaleem Imam must take right decision in the best interests of the game and country,” the sources concluded.