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Billie Jean King Cup: Veteran Sania Mirza, Ankita Raina, Karman Kaur Thandi among players named in Indian squad

New Delhi: Veteran Sania Mirza and singles players Ankita Raina and Karman Kaur Thandi were on Tuesday named in the five-member Indian Billie Jean King Cup team for the Asia/Oceania Group I competition, beginning 12 April in Antalya, Turkey.

Rutuja Bhosale also kept her place in the side while Riya Bhatia replaced Zeel Desai in the squad.

India had lost 1-3 to Latvia in the play-offs in April last year to get back to the zonal competition.

India will compete with China, Indonesia, Japan, Korea Republic and New Zealand in round-robin format, where the top two nations will get a chance to compete in the play-offs.

Captain Vishal Uppal said the team will have to work hard to make it to the next stage.

“The selection committee felt that Riya being the higher-ranked deserves opportunity. She had missed out the last time due to COVID-19. It is a tough qualification zone. China and Japan will be the biggest threat,” Uppal told PTI.

Uppal said ideally the players should have a preparatory camp since the matches will be on clay courts.

“We will see if we can get together and practice. The tournament is on clay. Our players are experienced on playing on European clay, they are familiar with the surface but homework is needed on matching up with these countries,” he added.

Shalini Thakur will be the coach of the squad.

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