ISLAMABAD     -      Pakistan’s No 1 tennis star Aqeel Khan has said that he is hopeful that India will play Asia-Oceania Davis Cup Group-I tie in Pakistan.  Talking to The Nation, Aqeel said: “I am hopeful that Indians will come to Pakistan to play Asia-Oceania Davis Cup Group-I tie, as today (Monday) is the last day before final decision will be made by International Tennis Federation (ITF).

“The proposed tie will now be held on November 29 and 30 in Islamabad. But the Indians are using all the tricks in the pocket not to travel to Pakistan. But the ITF has taken very strong and just stance, as they have made it clear that the tie will be held as per announced dates in Islamabad. I hope and pray that the tie must happen in Islamabad, as our crowd deserves to witness top class players playing in front of them.”

He said on papers, Indian team is very balanced and competitive side as they enjoy huge advantage of far superior rankings and they have players, who keep on playing in international tournaments on regular basis. “On the other hand, we only have one player in shape of Aisam, who is playing at international stage. We have very inexperienced side which includes Muhammad Mudassar, a first-timer, Abid Mushtaq, have played Davis Cup before and Muzammil, who was part of Pakistan Davis Cup team but he has no experience and exposure of such high-level event.”

He further said, “It is true that Pakistan team is weak, but the crowd and home courts will play the trick. I am sure that we will give Indians tough time and despite being highly underdogs, we will put up the show of our lives. Playing against Indians is always an extra motivation for all of us, whether it is cricket, hockey, kabaddi or tennis, Pakistanis always love to perform against the archrivals. I am sure that once Indians are here, they will never forget the treatment, love and hospitality of Pakistanis.”

Aqeel said Abid Ali Akbar was a good player, but he had moved abroad. “Now we have few players left in Pakistan. So in the current circumstances, this is the best available team. Off course, we have to depend on Abid, Muzammil and Mudassar as well, as Aisam and I can’t play all the matches. I am sure the young guns won’t let themselves down and will play out their best. It is good for us that before Davis Cup tie, we have to feature in 33rd National Games and have to play back-to-back tournaments in Lahore, which will help us gain momentum.

“The PTF has maintained grass courts quiet well. There are still few weeks left before the Davis Cup tie approaches and we need to play matches on grass so that our players may prepare well for the mega event. We are anxiously waiting for the Indian teams and we are eager to give out our best on the given day,” Aqeel concluded.