ISLAMABAD - Pakistan tennis finally exposed, as young guns Abid Ali Akbar and M Abid were defeated in the Davis Cup Asia-Oceania Group-II reverse singles by their respective opponents here at Pakistan Sports Complex hard courts on Sunday.

In the first reverse singles, American-return Abid Ali Akbar was pitted against Hamid of Iran, who got chance to represent the country as first choice Anosha got stomach bug and was feeling unwell. Abid turned out to be a big disappointment as his wayward services, long shots and half-hearted approach was hard to absolve for the local crowd, all the support, cheer and buck up was coming from Iranian side of the crowd.

The first set started in dramatic fashion as both the players broke each other’s serve and it was 4-4. Abid had a number of chances to finish off Hamid, but he was committing too many mistakes and soon it was 6-6, even then luckily, the Pakistani lad managed to win the first set 7-6 (4) on tiebreak in exactly one hour. After playing so hard in the first set, Abid was looking tired and running out of gas and lost the second set 4-6 and the third one 3-6.

The fifth and last reverse singles was played between M Abid and Shahin Kaldan of Iran. M Abid started the first set well, taking 2-0 lead but after that it was 4-4, 5-5 and 6-6. Abid then took 5-1 lead in the tiebreak, and then he had 3 set points serving at 6-3, but he failed to take advantage while Shahin took the advantage and won first set 7-6 (10) in exactly 1 hour. Shahin also played well in the second set and won it 6-3. With this two victories on the last day, Iran team returned home holding their heads high, while it was nothing for the local fans and players to cheer for. Pakistan tennis looked in turmoil, as there is absolutely no replacement of Aisam and Aqeel and without these two aging stars, Pakistan tennis is dead and buried.

Meanwhile, Pakistan Davis Cup team captain Rashid Malik has said that lack of Davis Cup exposure were the main reason behind Abid Akbar and M Abid defeats in the Davis Cup tie. He admitted there was no replacement yet for old horses Aisam and Aqeel, but remained vocal that if given training of 4 to 5 weeks, both Abids could become as worthy as Aqeel and Asiam, as both had loads of playing at national level and university levels at USA, but when it came to Davis Cup, they failed to excel.

“I give credit to both Abid Akbar and M Abid, as they played well, but Iranians played exceptionally well. I have requested the PTF president to ensure long training camps for the players. Now we are in the semi-finals, which will be held in April and hopefully on the PSB grass courts. We are waiting to get, who will be our opponent as it can be either Hong Kong or Vietnam. I hope on grass courts, my players will certainly make the difference,” he added.

Rashid said besides Abid Akbar and M Abid, they didn’t have good lot who could represent the country in Davis Cup ties. “Youngsters Muzammil and others are making progress but it will take another 4 or 5 years before they can replace Aisam and Aqeel. I have always stressed on the need of academies and also suggested time and again to distribute talented players among former greats and I am also ready to help out the PTF in Lahore, while Hameed is the best choice in Islamabad and Karachi should also be in picture. The players can’t afford to reside in Islamabad, so they should be kept at their respective cities and should be groomed well. Now the federation has to invest heavily, if it wants better results.”