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Stars are unmoved, but AITA is hopeful

New Delhi: With only a day to go for the players to declare their availability for the Davis Cup tie against South Korea next month, the top eight stars have so far shown no intention of buckling down.

The All India Tennis Association (AITA), however, is still hopeful that at least a section of the players would climb down from their position and make themselves available for the match.

“There could be surprises,” claimed AITA chief executive Hironmoy Chatterjee.

“We still feel that at least three players would realise their mistakes and inform us of their availability… We would then consider them on merit, not on any other issue.”

The AITA official, however, said the association has its plan B ready. They will be selecting a new team on Friday if the ‘rebels’ don’t wilt.

Meanwhile, the sports ministry on Wednesday decided to stay out of the selection controversy and said it was entirely the AITA’s prerogative to pick the squad.

The ministry, it was believed, was approached by the AITA to select US-based Prakash Amritraj, who was dropped from the team three years back for not having an Indian passport.

In a statement issued on Wednesday, the ministry said that “selection of teams for international competitions is entirely the prerogative of the concerned national federations and the ministry has no role to play in selection of the teams.

“The Ministry has however again examined the issue and reiterates its view that a person can represent India in any international competition only if she/he is an Indian passport holder,” the statement further said.

The ministry, it was learnt, was also upset with the AITA for its proposed move to stop funding the players under the Long Term Development Fund.