India colts gear up for Junior Davis Cup

We have a good team and should be able to qualify, says captain Sajid Lodi.

(From left): Sushant Dabas, captain Sajid Lodi,, Ajay Malik and Divesh Gahlot in New Delhi.   -  Kamesh Srinivasan

The Indian under-16 boys’ team looked strong, at least on paper, as the players went through the final preparations, including dope test, at the R.K. Khanna Stadium here on Friday.

“We have a good team and should be able to qualify. It will be a difficult choice for me to select the players for the matches, as all are equally good. Initially, I will go by the ranking,” said the captain and coach of the Junior Davis Cup team, Sajid Lodi.

“Once they play, we will go by their fitness level, quality of performance and their willingness to perform, to make the team for subsequent matches,” said the coach.

Divesh Gahlot, Sushant Dabas and Ajay Malik make the team, and they are all capable of beating any player, on their day.

The boys’ team will compete in Thailand at Nonthaburi, in the event which was originally scheduled to be played in Delhi.

The under-14 girls’ team, with Olympian Rushmi Chakravarthi as the captain, will be competing in the Asia-Oceania World Junior tennis tournament to be played in Kuala Lumpur.

“The girls have been playing tournaments regularly and performing well. I expect them to fight well,” said Rushmi. Veda Raju Prapurna had, in fact, qualified for the UK under-14 championship to be played in Wimbledon in August, with a good performance in the Road to Wimbledon event on the grass courts of the Gymkhana Club here.

The junior Fed Cup will be held in Thailand the following week after the boys’ event next week. “We are reaching tomorrow and will have enough time to prepare and get acclimatised to the conditions,” said Sajid Lodi.

There was concern about the teams not getting the playing kit as specified and the authorities were trying to find a solution.

The teams

Under-16 boys: Divesh Gahlot, Sushant Dabas, Ajay Malik. Captain: Sajid Lodi.

Under-16 girls: Bhakti Shah, Sudipta Senthilkumar, Sanjana Sirimalla. Captain: Namita Bal.

Under-14 girls: Pari Singh, Veda Raju Prapurna,, Shruti Ahlawat. Captain: Rushmi Chakravarthi.