New Delhi, Feb 22: Shiv Prakash Misra is likely to continue as non-playing captain of the Indian Davis Cup team for the time being till the high-powered committee of the All India Tennis Association (AITA) goes into the demands raised by the rebel players.
“Removal of Misra as the Davis Cup captain was one of the demands of the ‘rebels’ who boycotted the tie against South Korea earlier this month, but he is likely to continue till the three-member committee submits its report on the various issues raised by Somdev Devvarman and others,” a top AITA official told IANS Friday.
As the national selection committee meets here Saturday to pick the squad for the Davis Cup first round play-off tie against Indonesia in April, the AITA apparently does not want to have any stop-gap arrangement.
Hurt with Somdev’s comments, Mishra did resign but was persuaded to stay on for the tie against South Korea and a depleted India team lost it 1-4.
The AITA did agree that the Korea tie would be Misra’s farewell, thinking the players would relent, but now it does not want to give the impression that the national body has acted under duress.
Also, the AITA is unhappy at the way the players tried to dictate terms by usurping the roles of administrators and selectors. In any case, it does not want to take any decision in a hurry with more than one name being bandied about as Misra’s successor.
AITA sources hinted that the Hyderabadi would continue “at least for the time being” and he will attend Saturday’s selection committee meeting.
A distressed Misra refused to react. All he said was that he was attending Saturday’s meeting, making no secret that the players he nursed for the past six years have been unfair to him.
“I am distressed and heart broken at the turn of events. All that the players needed to do was to tell me that they didn’t want me, instead of conspiring behind my back, and I would have happily gone,” Misra told IANS on phone from Hyderabad.
Meanwhile, the three member high-level committee, that also includes former Davis Cup captain Naresh Kumar, met for the first time at the AITA headquarters here Friday.
Deepak Verma, retired Supreme Court judge, and M.C. Gupta, retired IAS officer, are the other two members in the committee, which has been formed to make guidelines for a healthy interaction between AITA and players.
AITA chief executive Hiranmoy Chatterjee told IANS that the committee was briefed about the correspondence between the players and the national body.
“The committee met here for the first time. They were briefed about the discussions between the AITA and the players over the charter of demands,” he said.
The committee will look into the issues of revenue sharing with the players including ‘prize money in lieu of advertisement’ (PILA), travel benefits and choice of venues.
The AITA, however, informed the committee that selection of players, coach and captain remains the discretion of the national body.
AITA secretary general Bharat Oza said the committee will again meet here March 16 and will also interact with the players during the Davis Cup tie in Bangalore in April.
“The committee observed that it would like to have a player-friendly atmosphere and would not only seek the help of the AITA but also of the government,” said Oza.