India drawn to face Pakistan away in Davis Cup


Nagpur -- The Indian Davis Cup team was on Wednesday drawn to meet Pakistan in away tie. However, the contest could well be shifted to a neutral venue provided the central government sticks to its current policy of not allowing its sporting teams to travel to Pakistan.

No Indian Davis Cup squad has travelled to Pakistan since March 1964 and in that tie, held in Lahore, India won 4-0.

The draw for the tie, which will be held in September, took place in London. The winner will move to the World Group qualifiers.

The All India Tennis Association (AITA) said they will approach the government to know if the team will be allowed to travel.

"AITA does not have a choice. We have to follow the government policy. We will speak to the government to know. They have not allowed any sports team to travel to Pakistan," AITA Secretary General Hironmoy Chatterjee said.

Pakistan had hosted Uzbekistan and Korea last year in Islamabad on grass courts.

It's an away tie for India since the last tie between the two nations was played in Mumbai in 2006, which India won 3-2.

Current non-playing captain Mahesh Bhupathi was part of that team, which also had Leander Paes, Prakash Amritraj and Rohan Bopanna.

Before that, India and Pakistan played at neutral venue in Malaysia in 1973.

India, who are a formidable side in the Asia/Oceania zone, have never lost to Pakistan in six meetings so far. In 1971, when Pakistan were hosts, India had handed a walkover.

"It's a good draw for us with the depth in our team. We are looking forward to winning and getting back to the World Group Play-offs (qualifiers) again," Bhupathi said.

"We know Pakistan players well. I am confident that with the team we have now and the way our players are playing and improving their rankings, we definitely hold the upper hand," India's coach Zeeshan Ali said.

However neither Zeeshan nor Bhupathi commented when asked if the government should allow the team to travel or if they were willing to travel to Pakistan.