The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Dutch will be tough: Krishnan

Calcutta: The luck of the draw has not been favouring India for the past couple of seasons, and it doesn’t seem to be any better this time around.

After a resounding win in their Asia Oceania Group I Round II match against New Zealand at the South Club lawns, India have been slated to play The Netherlands away in the World Group qualifier from September 19 to 21, according to the draw, which was made in London on Wednesday.

And non-playing captain Ramesh Krishnan feels it will be one uphill task beating the Dutch in their own backyard.

“It’s going to be a tough match, no question about that,” Krishnan told The Telegraph when contacted at his Chennai residence this afternoon.

“We were really hoping for a home tie, but we can’t crib with what we have got,” he added.

When asked which surface the Indians would prefer to play on, Krishnan said: “We don’t have a choice, whatever the surface, we will have to try and adapt.”

In fact, the Dutchmen are spoilt for choice, when it comes to the quality of players. While they have the likes former Wimbledon champions Richard Krajicek to play on grass, the likes of Sjeng Schalken and Raemon Sluiter will be quite a formidable opposition on other surfaces as well.

India last played The Netherlands in the World Group Round I match in Jaipur in 1996 on grass, when the hosts won 3-2 with Mahesh Bhupathi winning both his singles, and Leander Paes winning the other.

But that seems to be a thing of the past with Mahesh no longer interested in singles and the pressure almost falling squarely on the broad shoulders of Leander Paes. Although Rohan Bopanna has shown flashes of coming of age, he still lacks the consistency to counter quality opposition.

“At present, I don’t see too many changes in the line-up for the Holland game,” Krishnan said. “However, fitness will be a major issue, and I’ll have to monitor that.”

Talking about preparations for the game, the non-playing captain added: “We want to reach there about five or six days earlier. The boys will be coming from the hard court circuit and that will be good preparation in itself.”

Krishnan also felt that if Paul Haarhuis plays in the doubles, it won’t be easy for India in the doubles as well. “He is a seasoned performer and Mahesh and Leander have to be at their best,” Krishnan signed off.

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