19-year-old Indian tennis ace Sumit Nagal has been dropped from the Indian Davis Cup squad. The squad led by Anand Amritraj is scheduled to face the Kiwis between February 3 and 5.
The step was taken after reports came to surface that the youngster had missed a practice session in July last year at Chandigarh during the tie against Korea citing a hangover.
A source close to AITA told Sportskeeda, "It is a case of sheer indiscipline, on the part of the player. He missed several training sessions, brought his girlfriend to the camp without informing us. Several other discrepancies emerged, including incessant drinking which led to the captain taking this call."
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Nagal, who won the Junior doubles championship at Wimbledon in 2015, came to limelight with his performances against Spain after he nearly defeated Marc Lopez after coming in as a replacement for Saketh Myneni.
However, this incident would put a real blotch on his name. The youngster had already been in the headlines for the wrong reasons earlier when he had brought his girlfriend to the team hotel without prior permission. It is believed that team captain Anand Amritraj had to tell Nagal to send his companion away.
The heart of the matter
The AITA announced a five-member squad with two reserves instead of the usual six-member team as is the norm for any country with India getting ready to face New Zeland in an Asia/Oceania Group I tie scheduled for next month.
On the tail end of the suspension, reports are surfacing that the AITA were also fuming about how the youngster conceded the fifth dead rubber to Marc Lopez sighting breathing problems. The Indian fought valiantly and was leading 3-0 in the third and final set only to lose the next six games in a row as Spain whitewashed India 5-0.
However, the AITA are believed to have remained calm as they know these factors have to be taken into account whilst grooming a youngster.
It will be interesting to see what transpires and who get the sixth spot in the Indian squad with Nagal all but ruled out.
What will be even more fascinating is how the AITA plays this one out. They clearly see a lot of potential in the player and this would be a sure test of the man management skills.
Nagal is only nineteen and thus an error in judgment is something that shouldn’t take us all by shock. However, as he steps towards becoming a pro on the circuit, he needs to behave as one and take better decisions. The player will also need the guidance of veteran players around that will show him the way.