ISLAMABAD - Pakistan chances in the Davis Cup Asia Oceania Group-II against Philippines got huge boost with the arrival of tennis ace Aisamul Haq Qureshi who confirmed to represent the country in the all-important tie.

Pakistan Tennis Federation (PTF) president Dr Syed Kaleem Imam confirmed the news while talking to The Nation from Sudan. “It is a very positive development as we were in a fix due to Aisam’s absence in the squad but his arrival will lift Pakistan team’s morale and I hope Aisam will play a major role alongside Pakistan No 1 player Aqeel Khan to help the country win crucial tie.”

“Aisam has sent passport for visa purposes and hopefully, the team will leave by March 29 to get use to difficult conditions of Philippines and prepare well before time as the tie will start from April 4-6,” Kaleem concluded.

Sharing his views, Aqeel Khan said: “It is very good news for me and the country as Aisam’s availability in the tie means a lot for our ambitions. We never beat Philippines at their own backyard and we were beaten in all the past ties against them just because we were without the services of Aisam. But things will be definitely different now and it will take majority of burden off from my shoulders, as we have a very ordinary team without Aisam. No hard feelings and disrespect to Yasir and Abid, but they are far from representing the country and thinking about significant results. They are no doubt very good players, but they need international experience, which they badly lack.”

“Aisam was missing that tie for the last two to three years due to his international commitments, but this time, he made the right decision by opting to play for the country in the all-important tie against Philippines. It could have been icing on the cake, had we played that tie at our own courts, but the ITF didn’t permit Pakistan to host home tie at our own venue due to security concerns,” he added.

Replying to a query regarding his injured right shoulder, he stated: “It still hurts a lot and I am not putting extra pressure on it as it may further aggravate injury. I am not serving at all to give rest to injury and I am working on physical training and playing light tennis during the training camp.”

“The PTF must send team by March 29 to Manila, as conditions are very tough there and we need proper time to prepare ourselves for the tie. If we reach one or two days earlier, it will serve no purpose to players or the country,” Aqeel concluded.