Sania, Ankita and Rutuja to spearhead India in Billie Jean King Cup World Group Play-off squad

Sania Mirza, Ankita Raina, Karman Kaur Thandi, Zeel Desai, and Rutuja Bhosale will form the Indian contingent for the Billie Jean King Cup World Group Play-offs away game against Latvia.

Sania Mirza

Six-time Grand Slam winner Sania Mirza training will lead the Indian team in the Billie Jean King Cup World Group Play-offs clash against Latvia.   -  V.V.Subrahmanyam

The core group of Ankita Raina, Sania Mirza and Rutuja Bhosale will continue to strive to take India forward in the Billie Jean King Cup world group play-off tie against Latvia to be played on indoor hard courts in Jurmala on April 16 and 17.

The other two spots in the team have been taken by Zeel Desai and Karman Kaur Thandi. The second best Indian singles player, the 359th ranked Riya Bhatia, has been kept as a reserve in the team announced by the All India Tennis Association (AITA) on Tuesday.

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Riya has been struggling with her game in the recent international events at home. In contrast, Zeel has been at her best. National champion Sowjanya Bavisetti also did not retain her place in the team.

Vishaal Uppal will continue as the captain. The announcement of coach and physio have not been made yet.

The selectors with Nandan Bal as the Chairman met through a video conference on Tuesday. Balram Singh, Mustafa Ghouse and Sai Jayalakshmy were the other selectors. The meeting was also attended by the AITA secretary general Anil Dhupar, vice president Hironmoy Chatterjee and captain Uppal.

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India had qualified for the World Group play-off for the first time, as the second team from the Asia-Oceania zone behind China. It beat Uzbekistan, Korea, Chinese Taipei and Indonesia in Dubai last year.

The pandemic subsequently forced a one-year delay to the continuation of the women’s team competition.