Tennis: Indian squad for Billie Jean King Cup announced
Ankita Raina and Karman Kaur Thandi will lead the Indian challenge in Billie Jean King Cup.
Vaidehi Chaudhary was on Monday rewarded for her good form as she was named in India's Billie Jean King Cup squad for the upcoming Asia Oceania Group I competition, where seniors Ankita Raina and Karman Kaur Thandi will lead the country's challenge.
The 23-year-old Chaudhary had recently won her second ITF women's singles title in Gurugram after beating compatriot Sandeepti Singh. Chaudhary, ranked 492, had won her maiden ITF title in Gwalior recently and then also reached the final in Jhajjar, where she had lost to Serbia's Tamara Curovic.
Also making it to the five-player squad is Sahaja Yamlapalli, who is the fourth-highest ranked player from India at number 454. Rutuja Bhosale has kept her place (419) in the squad even as Riya Bhatiya has been dropped by the selection panel, led by Nandan Bal.
The action in Asia Ocenia Group I will begin in Tashkent, Uzbekistan from April 10.
"We wanted to reward the youngsters for their good form that's why Vaidehi and Sahaja are there. The good thing is that all five players are almost at the same level. Vaidehi has even beaten Ankita. So in case there is an injury issue, we have ideal replacement," Nandan Bal told PTI.
"Players like Vaidehi and Sahaja should be able to push the senior players in a couple of years, if not immediately. So they should be in the team to soak the atmosphere and pressure," he added.
Surprisingly, the AITA has replaced Vishal Uppal as captain and Shalini Thakur Chawla, who was the coach in the previous tie, has taken his place.
Radhika Kanitkar is the new coach of the side while Ajeeta Goel is the physio in an all-woman support staff.
Asked why Uppal has been replaced as captain, Bal said, "We were mandated to pick only the players and not the support staff. Only AITA can answer that."
India's Squad: Ankita Raina, Karman Kaur Thandi, Rutuja Bhosale, Sahaja Yamlapalli and Vaidehi Chaudhary. Shrivalli Bhamidipaty (Reserve)
Captain: Shalini Thakur Chawla
Coach: Radhika Kanitkar.