‘Nobody should be allowed to dictate terms to country’https://indianexpress.com/article/news-archive/print/nobody-should-be-allowed-to-dictate-terms-to-country/

‘Nobody should be allowed to dictate terms to country’

Following Leander Paes’ statement to pull out,AITA in a late night development,has decided to send just one team but stopped short of naming the final squad

Following Leander Paes’ statement to pull out,AITA in a late night development,has decided to send just one team but stopped short of naming the final squad. Paes meanwhile,reiterated that he is against players dictating terms to the federation as it will set a wrong precedent. Excerpts:

On players taking on federations

* Nobody should be allowed to dictate terms to India. How can anyone get away with disagreeing with our federation and selector’s decision? How can they refuse to represent our country? Does Sachin (Tendulkar) refuse to represent our country,saying ‘I will not play for India if (MS) Dhoni is the captain? And do you think BCCI will let anyone get away with that kind of thing?

On contemplating to withdraw from the Olympics

* It is a very sad day for me. On the basis of merit I deserve to be there and I have always said that the best team which has a shot at the medal should be sent. If according to the federation the best team is Mahesh and me,I am still willing to put my differences aside and play with him or Rohan. But I am not willing to succumb to an arrangement which pairs me with someone ranked 300 just because players who are ranked 12 and 14 have refused to partner me.

On being against sending two teams

* I am willing to play with another player but does this mean that any athlete can come and hold the country to ransom,any athlete can hold the federation to ransom and anyone can say that the selection committee is incompetent and get away with it? I’m not going to let someone get away with the dirtiness of this because it become a bad precedent for all future athletes and specially tennis players.

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On whether his pulling out is the best course of action

* Representing India at the Olympics is a cherished dream and I have always said that I am available unconditionally for it so I am not going to let anyone strip me off my Olympic dream (by sending me as a second best combination.) Why isn’t anyone focusing on the fact that these two boys have refused to play for India and you are still following someone who is dictating terms to India? And if that is the case,that people feel this is a good combination for India to get a medal,then why do you even need me then?

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