Despite missing their best singles players, India will enter the historic Davis Cup World Group I play-off tie against Pakistan as favorites. The match is being played in a restricted area for security concerns. This is the first time the visitors have gone to Pakistan in 60 years.
India has won all seven of its Davis Cup matches against Pakistan, and they are unlikely to lose any more. Nonetheless, after opting to play on grass courts, the hosts could mount a strong challenge led by their two biggest players, Aisam-ul-haq Qureshi and Aqeel Khan. If Pakistan stood a chance against India, it had to be on the grass courts because both Aisam and Aqeel are tremendous fighters, and this surface brings the best out of them.
The fast, low-bouncing courts in Islamabad make it logical that N Sriram Balaji, a doubles specialist, and the team's best singles player, Ramkumar Ramanathan, would be asked to play singles on the first day.
Ramkumar is one player in the current generation of Indian players who loves to serve and volley, and playing on grass is his strength too. His career-best result of making the ATP250 final in Newport also came on grass courts.