India’s non-playing skipper Mahesh Bhupathi stunned everybody with his decision to drop Leander Paes from India's four-member squad for Davis Cup Asia/Oceania Zone Group I tie against Uzbekistan. Bhupathi picked Rohan Bopanna over Paes for the Davis cup encounter which is scheduled to start from 7th to 9th April in Bengaluru.
The Olympic games bronze medallist recently won his first title of the season earlier this month with Canada's Adil Shamasdin when he lifted the men's doubles trophy in Leon Challenger Tour tennis tournament.
India’s coach Zeeshan Ali confirmed this news on Thursday. Bhupathi had previously selected Yuki Bhambri, Ramkumar Ramanathan, Prajnesh Gunneswaran and N. Sriram Balaji for the tie. He earlier kept both Paes and Bopanna as reserves in the squad.
Due to a nagging knee injury, Yuki took his name back from the four-man Davis Cup squad. After Bhambri’s withdrawal, it was speculated that either Paes or Bopanna will take his place as the fourth member of the team.
But now, India's highest ranked doubles player – Bopanna will partner Balaji in the doubles rubber that will be played on 8th April.
43-year old Leander made his Davis Cup debut for India against Japan in 1990 at Jaipur. This is the first time in 27 years when he has been dropped from the Davis Cup team on basis of his recent form.
Here's how the Twitter world reacted to Paes omission from India's Davis Cup squad:-
There was never any doubt Lee wud b dropped fm team. Rest was charade by Hesh. Lee fell for it. Total humiliation. @Leander head held high.
— Binoo John (@binoojohn) April 6, 2017
Dont know why Indian sports federation's cant handle issues of transition better. @Leander case once again shows how not to handle players
— Abhijeet Kulkarni (@abk6580) April 6, 2017
Leander Paes dropped from Davis Cup squad be played against Uzbekistan. Mahesh Bhupathi's ego will help India beating Uzbekistan instead
— Debarati Majumder (@debarati_m) April 6, 2017
— Shravan Shukla (@sksjournalist) April 6, 2017
@Leander you r real champion, sachin tendulkar of indian tennis, v know wat you are, go on winning international mathes. world wcthing dis
— somashekar padukare (@padukare) April 6, 2017
— The Anonymous (@The_Annonnymous) April 6, 2017
— sachin gupta (@sachn) April 6, 2017
— Mriganka Majumder (@mrigankom) April 6, 2017
18 Grand Slams, 27 years of service to nation, winner last week, ranking of 54, not enough to displace 223rd ranker. Shocked @Leander
— Saikat Mukherjee (@Sportysaikat) April 6, 2017
@Leander tells me hes confused being dropped from davis cup as form was main criteria and he was in good form after winning a ATP challenger
— Nagarjun Dwarakanath (@nagarjund) April 6, 2017