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Naresh on panel to solve the crisis

New Delhi: The All India Tennis Association (AITA), on Sunday, formed a three-member committee that includes former Davis Cup captain Naresh Kumar to look into the grievances of the rebel players and suggest for a uniform players’ agreement within four months.

However, the efforts of the national body to reach to a compromise with the players could still be a non-starter as the AITA is firm on the point that players would not be allowed to interfere in the selection of coaches and support staff of the Indian team.

Apart from their other demands, the players had also asked for the removal of S.P. Mishra as the non-playing captain and Zeeshan Ali as coach.

AITA has already said these demands will not be accepted.

After a 90-minute meeting of the AITA executive committee in the capital on Sunday, chief executive officer Hironmoy Chatterjee said that the three-member panel would be asked to submit a report within the next three months.

It will, however, submit an interim report before India’s Davis Cup clash against Indonesia this April.

Apart from Naresh, retired Supreme Court judge Deepak Verma and retired IAS officer M.C. Gupta are the other two members of the AITA committee.

Asked about the need of forming the committee when the players only wanted an assurance in writing, Chatterjee said they wanted the entire thing to go through a certain process.

“This policy of blackmailing has been going on for long. The availability comes with pre-conditions and we don’t appreciate that. We want to stop it.

“It is a neutral committee and I am hopeful that the suggestions it makes will be acceptable to both the parties,” Chatterjee said.

Once the panel submits its report, the executive committee will look into the suggestions before formulating the players’ agreement.

The executive committee in a statement also criticised Somdev Dev Varman for labelling the national body as “unethical” and “unprofessional.”

“We do not understand what has prompted him (Somdev) to make such comments, which according to us, are not based on facts, but merely rhetoric.

“We are amazed that some members of the AITA are also joining the bandwagon for reasons best known to them,” the statement read in an obvious reference to one of the vice-presidents of the federation.