ISLAMABAD - Pakistan Tennis Federation’s poor planning costs Pakistan dearly on the inaugural day of the Davis Cup Group-I fixture against New Zealand played in Christchurch Friday, as both Pakistanis Abid Ali Akbar and Samir Iftikhar were given a real hammering by the host nation players.

To make things further worst, Pakistan now had to play the tie with only three players including playing captain Aqeel Khan, as federation didn’t bother to send 4th player. The 4th place slot was just gifted to a completely unknown stranger Canadian based Pakistan Asad Ali, who was present during the draws yesterday, but was barred from representing Pakistan as he had expired passport of Pakistan. The PTF didn’t bother to confirm whether Asad had a valid passport or not.

Highly placed sources present at the venue confirmed to this scribe that match referee received an email from International Tennis Federation prior to the start of the match and it was informed to the match referee that Asad had an expired Pakistani passport since long, so he is not eligible to play the Davis Cup tie. Now in case of injury to any one of the three available players, Pakistan would lost the tie without any further matches. The PTF is completely responsible which is busy in self projection rather than serving the cause of the game.

The PTF is being run in the absence of any competitive authority as its president Salim Saifullah Khan is busy in foreign trips and hardly available in Pakistan while secretary Khalid Rehmani resides in Karachi and comes only once a month to Islamabad. The PTF president should be Islamabad-based like Kaleem Imam and Senator Dilawar Abbas, who despite highly limited resources, had done wonders for Pakistan tennis, unlike of present management, who had hired an army of office-bearers, employees, but no heed is paid for the improvement of tennis in general and players in particular.

Sources further disclosed that it seemed watching Pakistani players that school-going kids were playing against fully grown men. Abid did tried to provide some resistance, but Samir, who had huge reputation at his back was simply outclassed. Playing in university tennis is different thing and playing in Davis Cup or international event is completely different and past reputations mean nothing. It was the bonafide right of the players, who reside in Pakistan, burn their hearts out in hot and cold weathers to get the due right of representing Pakistan in highly prestigious event like Davis Cup, but federation top brass has other ideas.

Abid Ali Akbar started the first match for Pakistan against Rubin Statham, who is also world number 362. Abid was simply blown away by Rubin, who took the first set 6-0 without conceding a single game. Rubin was dictating terms while Abid was looking just a meagre spectator. The second set was also almost played in identical fashion as Abid failed to hold onto his serve. Abid did finally managed to hold onto his third game, but it was all he could get from the set, as Rubin shut the doors and took the second set 6-2.

In third set Abid provided  some resistance but his fitness had the final say as he ran out of gas and lost the set 6- and match as well that lasted for two hours and 10 minutes.

Samir started the second and last singles match of the day against Tearney Finn, who is world number 419. Samir was expected to give tough fight to opponent. But he failed to provide any and last the match tamely 6-2, 6-0, 6-0 in one hour and 55 minutes.

Now the entire burden of helping Pakistan to stay alive in the tie and Group-I as usual completely rests on the shoulders of veteran Aqeel Khan, who would play the doubles match partnering Abid Ali Akbar against Rubin Statham/ Tearney Finn, the match will start at 11:00am New Zealanad local time.