Leander Paes' glittering career as a Davis Cup player might be in its last stages after he was dropped from the Indian Davis Cup squad to play Asia-Oceania tie with Uzbekistan, to be played at the KSLTA Stadium in Bengaluru from April 7. Indian non-playing captain Mahesh Bhupathi went with Rohan Bopanna as the sole doubles specialist for the tie.Bhupathi had left both Paes and Bopanna out of the probables when he shortlisted names for the team a couple of days ago, and on Thursday, he opted for the latter.
Indian were already without the services of the injured Yuki Bhambri. He had been named in the original probable's squad along with Ramkumar Ramanathan, Prajnesh Gunneswaran and Sriram Balaji.
Bopanna and Balaji will feature in the doubles match against Farrukh Dustov and Sanjar Fayziev. Bopanna is ranked 23rd in the world -- 34 spots above Paes.
Ramkumar Ramanathan will now spearhead India's singles challenge in place of injured Yuki Bhambri.
Ramanathan will face Temur Ismailov in the first singles rubber tomorrow. Prajnesh Gunneswaran, who replaced the injured Bhambri, will then take on Fayziev in the second singles rubber.
In the reverse singles on Sunday, Ramanathan will face Fayziev and Gunneswaran will play the final rubber against Ismai.
Paes, who made ghis Davis Cup debut against Japan in 1990 at Jaipur, has been dropped from the Davis Cup team on form for the first time in 27 years.
Paes is also in the cusp of creating a Davis Cup history. Paes is currently locked at 42 with Italian legend Nico Pietrangeli and is one win away from the record for most doubles wins in Davis Cup history.
(With inputs from Suprita Das and PTI)