LAHORE - Pakistan’s Davis Cup team landed in Christ Church to defend Pakistan in the important group one relegation tie against New Zealand from September 16 to 18. Samir and Abid reached from USA after a long-haul flight and joined team playing captain Aqeel Khan.

The sudden withdraw of Asiamul Haq against Pakistan-New Zealand Asia Oceana Davis Cup tie has put extra burden on the young guns like ÚS based 24-year old Samir Iftikhar and 26-year old Abid Ali Akbar along with experienced 36-year old Aqeel Khan. Their heroic team effort under captaincy of former Davis Cup legend Hameedul Haq and in the absence of Aisamul Haq against Indonesia in July 2015 at the final group 2 Asia Oceana Davis Cup semifinal tie is still fresh in our minds, which eventually led Pakistan for the first time qualify in the Elite Group 1 of The Asia Oceana Davis Cup after a decade when Aisam won the decisive match against Chinese Taipei to give Pakistan 3-2 victory.

In the first singles, Aqeel used all his experience to Indonesia No 2 Agitya Sasongko in four sets with scores 2/6, 6/3, 7/5, 6/0. Samir Iftikhar was pitted ATP ranked Indonesia No 1 David Susanto and staged a magnificent come back after going two sets down to win a five-set marathon in four hours 4/6, 6/7, 6/4, 7/5, 6/0 to give Pakistan 2-0 lead and paved the way for Abid Akbar who after losing the doubles at 2/1 outlasted David Susanto 6/0, 7/6, 0/6, 6/2 in four sets and giving a first ever victory over Indonesia.

Pakistan are underdogs in this tie but so were they against Indonesia in the absence of Aisam. They have services of two young guns, who are capable of upsetting the strong side with experienced Aqeel to support them.

About the upcoming Pakistan tie, former Pakistan Davis Cupper Tayab Iftikhar, who is father and coach of Samir Iftikhar, said: “It is going to be a tough tie and the boys are capable of giving the Kiwis run for their money. No matter what is the outcome of the tie, Aqeel, Abid and Samir are our true heroes and the international exposure, the both youngsters will gain, will come long way in the future.”