ISLAMABAD: Mushaf Zia has been retained as the non-playing captain of the Pakistan team for the Davis Cup World Group 1 tie against Japan to be held at the Pakistan Sports Complex grass courts in Islamabad on March 5-6.
The Pakistan Tennis Federation (PTF) has also invited eight players for the available three spots as leading international Aisamul Haq and Pakistan No 1 Aqeel Khan are automatic selection for the tie.
Talking to ‘The News’ on Saturday, Mushaf said the country should be proud of playing against the world tennis powerhouse Japan in a Davis Cup tie.
“It is really an honour to be named as the non-playing captain and coach of the team for the important home tie. I am thankful to the PTF for reposing trust in me. I would make all possible efforts to make the opportunity count. Don’t forget Japan is one of the powerhouses of the game in the world.
“Country tennis fraternity should be proud that Pakistan is one of Asia’s best teams and are drawn to play a leading international team. We have beaten European giants Slovenia early this year and would make best effort to repeat the feat yet again,” he said.
He praised Aqeel and Aisam for helping Pakistan stay as the leading international Davis Cup team.
“The duo’s contribution is second to none. They have served the country well and I hope they would continue to do so in the future also,” he said.
Mushaf has served in this role in the past, including the tie against Slovenia in March 2020, which Pakistan won 3-0, surprising a top-class European team.
“Considering Mushaf’s sterling record and past services, his nomination is expected to be approved by the ITF, as is required per procedures, without any observations,” Khawar Hayat, PTF Executive Vice President, said.
The PTF Executive Committee (EC) also decided to undertake trials for selecting three remaining players of the Davis Cup team. Top stars Aisamul Haq Qureshi and Aqeel Khan are exempted from trials. Prevalent Davis Cup rules allow a max of five players, in addition to a non-playing captain.
Trials will be held in Islamabad starting on January 18. On the directions of the PTF president, the top eight nationally-ranked players, following Aqeel Khan, have been invited to participate. According to the latest national rankings, as of end December 2020, these are: Muzammil Murtaza, Muhammad Shoaib, Muhammad Abid, Heera Ashiq, Shahzad Khan, Muddasir Murtaza, Ahmed Choudhary and Yousaf Khalil.
ITF White Badge Umpire Shahzad Akhtar Alvi and Mushaf Zia will supervise the trials to be held in a round-robin format.
Source: The News