KARACHI: Aisamul Haq Qureshi’s injury may be a drawback for Pakistan in their Asia-Oceania Zone Group II semi-finals against Indonesia, but the Pakistan Tennis Federation (PTF) remains upbeat about the national squad’s chances of winning.
PTF secretary Khalid Rehmani said that Aisam’s knee injury is a blow to Pakistan as the team has been mainly relying on him and his doubles partner Aqeel Khan at Davis Cup.
“It’s a major setback for sure,” Rehmani told The Express Tribune. “Aisam’s presence makes a difference, so his unavailability for the tie is disappointing. However, we know he wouldn’t miss it if he hadn’t been in pain.”
The official added that Aisam’s physical condition will not help him in the best-of-five sets format at Davis Cup so it would be best he stayed out, although the change in the squad will be more upsetting for Aqeel, who has long been Aisam’s doubles partner. “The entire squad is a little upset, but it will be harder for Aqeel,” said Rehmani. “However, we have a good side; we have two new players who have the opportunity to step up.”
Besides Aqeel, Samir Iftikhar and Abid Ali Akbar will be playing the semi-final on the hardcourts of Jakarta on July 14.
According to non-playing captain and coach Hamidul Haq, the team has a good chance of winning. “Aisam would have made a lot of difference and unfortunately we won’t be getting anyone at the last moment to replace him, but we have reasonably good talent even without him,” said Haq.
The former Davis Cupper said he believed both teams are on equal footing. “We have a good chance. Both Samir and Abid are in excellent shape and are capable of surprising the opponents,” he said.
Haq added that Aqeel and Abid had three practice sessions in Jakarta after they landed in Indonesia on July 7. “The players took to the court right after our arrival to get accustomed to the weather, which is hot and extremely humid.”
Samir will be joining the team on Friday.
Pakistan have previously played against Indonesia thrice, winning 4-1 in their last meeting on the claycourts of Rawalpindi in 1984.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 10th, 2015.
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