KARACHI: Pakistan were once again deprived of the right to host a Davis Cup tie after a security official of the International Tennis Federation (ITF) was dissatisfied with the arrangements in the country.
A top official of the Pakistan Tennis Federation (PTF) said the Davis Cup Asia Oceania Group II clash next March would now be played in Hong Kong against the hosts.
“The ITF has shifted the tie to Hong Kong after the security officer Ian Todd was not satisfied with the security arrangements and feared for players’ safety,” PTF Secretary Mumtaz Yousaf told The Express Tribune.
Todd visited Lahore in October to assess the security arrangements for the possibility of holding the Davis Cup matches. He visited different clubs and met various sports officials during the tour.
“It is hurting but we don’t have any other choice but to follow the ITF decision which was based on Todd’s report,” said Yousaf.
It would be the fourth year in succession when Pakistan would be forced to play their home matches away due to security threats.
Earlier, Pakistan’s home ties against Oman and Philippines in 2009 were also shifted while this year the country was forced to play in Hong Kong and New Zealand after teams refused to visit. Pakistan, however, still managed a victory against Hong Kong but the loss against New Zealand restrained their promotion.
Aqeel fears further decline
Dejected after the tie was shifted, Pakistan number one Aqeel Khan feared for a further decline in Davis Cup performance.
“At one stage we reached Group I but were relegated due to the continuous shifting of our home matches,” Aqeel told The Express Tribune.
“We lost to New Zealand this year just because we were unaware of the conditions there. The loss demoted us to Group II.”
Aqeel said that Hong Kong will pose more threat this year.
“Hong Kong were without their main players and that helped us in securing a win. They will be available this time and it would be very difficult to beat them.”
Published in The Express Tribune, December 22nd, 2010.
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