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Sumit Nagal returns to team India for Davis Cup tie against Norway, doubles specialist Divij Sharan dropped

Chief Selector Nandan Bal explained Nagal’s selection and expects the 24-year-old to play a role on the slow court in Norway.

Ritesh Pathak Author

Published on - 21 July 2022 11:11 pm

24-year-old Sumit Nagal has made a comeback to the Indian tennis team for the Davis Cup for an away World Group I tie against Norway while doubles specialist Divij Sharan who has lost his place in the top-100 doubles rankings was dropped.

Meanwhile, the country’s number one singles player Ramkumar Ramanathan (ranked 196), Prajnesh Gunneswaran (295), Sasikumar Mukund (431), Yuki Bhambri (571), doubles exponent Rohan Bopanna (21) have been named in the team named by Nandan Bal-led selection committee.

The selection of a lower-ranked Yuki Bhambri ahead of Arjun Kadhe (519) and Sidharth Rawat (566) may be questionable but if the Delhi player is to use his Protected Ranking, he would be in top-100 and also considering Bhambri’s class, the selectors seem to have made the right call.

Also, with a five-member unit set to compete against Norway on September 16 and 17, captain Rohit Rajpal will be naming a reserve player after assessing the conditions there. Most likely, it is expected to be Sasikumar Mukund, who is yet to play a Davis Cup tie.

Coming back to Sumit Nagal’s return, the 24-year-old from Haryana who underwent hip surgery in November 2021, began competing on the circuit from April this year. In eight tournaments this season, Nagal has won four matches. Sumit last played a Davis Cup tie against Croatia in March 2021 and missed the subsequent matches against Finland (September 2021) and Denmark (March 2022).

Chief Selector Nandan Bal explained Nagal’s selection and expects the 24-year-old to play a role on the slow court in Norway. Bal also explained that the team has two really good players in Ramkumar and Yuki Bhambri in case the courts turn out to be fast.

“The courts are expected to be slow in Norway, so Sumit comes into play there. Slow courts suit the game style of Sumit. If courts are faster we have the option of Yuki and Ramkumar. So we have to have four singles players in the side,” Nandan Bal told PTI.

“Both Ramkumar and Yuki are playing doubles also and doing well. So there was no place for Divij Sharan in the side this time. He comes in only as doubles specialist and these guys can play both singles and doubles,” he said.

Notably, it will be the first time that India and Norway will compete against each other in Davis Cup. India had blanked Denmark 4-0 in New Delhi in the World Group Play-offs in March this year.

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