India’s Davis Cup tie against Pakistan has now been scheduled to take place in Islamabad at the end of November. The two-day Asia/Oceania Group 1 match-up will now be held on either November 29 and 30, or November 30 and December 1.
The Pakistan Tennis Federation (PTF) has until September 19 to confirm the precise dates of the two-day tie,” the International Tennis Federation (ITF) said in a statement. “The ITF will continue to monitor the security situation in Pakistan with the host nation and our independent security advisors.”
The tie was originally scheduled to take place at the Pakistan Sports Complex in Islamabad on September 14-15. The straining political ties between the two countries due to the Kashmir issue in August, however, prompted the All India Tennis Association (AITA) to approach the ITF to either shift the tie to a neutral venue or postpone the tie by two months.
Despite the ITF’s assertion that the security arrangements organised by the Pakistan Tennis Federation (PTF) were stringent and up to ITF standards, the world body decided on August 22 to shift the tie to November.
Ahead of the tie in November though, the AITA will once again take a call on if they want the tie to be held in Pakistan.
“The security situation will be reviewed on 4th November whether the tie can be held in Islamabad or to be shifted to a neutral venue,” the AITA statement added.
In the past, Pakistan has hosted Davis Cup ties at neutral venues due to ban the ITF had imposed on the country owing to security concerns. The ban lasted from 2005 to 2017, and since then, the PTF has hosted Iran, Thailand, South Korea and Uzbekistan for Davis Cup matches in Islamabad.
The AITA too had announced a ‘strong’ team for the tie, but once the political tensions escalated between the two countries, team captain Mahesh Bhupathi expressed concerns about travelling to Pakistan on behalf of the squad, and the AITA subsequently approached the ITF for a neutral venue or delay in tie. After initially rejecting the AITA’s requests, the world body eventually decided to postpone the tie.
The last time India was drawn to play an away tie against Pakistan was back in 1973, and it was organised in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. After that, the Pakistan team travelled to Mumbai for a tie in 2006. The upcoming match-up will be the seventh between the two countries.No cricket team too has toured Pakistan for a bilateral series since the attack against Sri Lanka’s team bus in 2019.
The new dates now will ensure the Pakistan-India tie will be the last Davis Cup match to be held in the 2019 season, as the World Group Finals will take place in Madrid, Spain from November 18 to 24.