New Delhi, Dec 22 (IANS) The All-India Tennis Association (AITA) on Thursday dropped Rohan Bopanna from the Indian squad for the Davis Cup tie against New Zealand in Pune from February 3-5 which will also be the last enagement with the national squad for non-playing captain Anand Amritraj.

In Bopanna’s absence, Leander Paes and Saketh Myneni, who produced a spirited fight against the formidable Spanish combination of Rafael Nadal and Marc Lopez, will continue to be the preferred doubles pair.

The AITA selection committee comprising S.P. Misra, Rohit Rajpal, Nandan Bal, Zeeshan Ali and secretary Hiranmoy Chatterjee also included Yuki Bhambri, who made a comeback to the squad at the expense of Sumit Nagal while Ramkumar Ramanathan retained his spot.

The fifth player in the squad is Prajnesh Gunneswaran while Adil Kalyanpur and Nitin Kumar Sinha are the standbys.

“Including Rohan in the squad means that the place for a third singles player that we wanted to have in the squad will be blocked. Leander and Saketh were brilliant against Spain which was a factor in their selection. Also, whenever Leander and Rohan have played together, they have not done well. Take the tie against Czech Republic as an example,” national selector Misra told the media.

“Also, since Rohan is an ad court player, it also went against him. Saketh is also an ad court player while Leander prefers the deuce court. If we pick Rohan and Saketh, then we have two ad court players. Even Rohan and Saketh have not done well as a pair,” he added.

The AITA executive committee also decided to replace Amritraj after the tie against New Zealand due to reports of indiscipline in the Indian squad during his tenure. Amritraj has been given a chance to make a graceful exit with veteran doubles star Mahesh Bhupathi due to replace him as captain.

The selectors also announced a provisional squad for the Fed Cup Asia/Oceania group 1 tie against Kazakhstan tobe held in Astana from February 6.

The squad comprises Sania Mirza, Ankita Raina, Snehadevi Reddy, Karman Thandi, Riya Bhatia and Prarthana Thombare.

    The IANS was founded by Indian American publisher Gopal Raju as the India Abroad News Service. It was later renamed the Indo-Asian News Service.

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