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Cretois referee for India-Pakistan Davis Cup tie

March 11, 2006 16:58 IST
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France's Stephane Cretois has been appointed referee for the India-Pakistan Davis Cup zonal play-off encounter, to be played at the Cricket Club of India in Mumbai, on specially-prepared grass courts, from April 7 to 9.

Organising committee chairman Bharat Oza said Mumbai will be playing host to a Davis Cup match after a gap of 36 years and hosts Maharashtra State Lawn Tennis Association "would make every effort to make it a success".

Australia's John Blom is the neutral umpire and India's Punit Gupta the chair umpire, Oza said at a press conference in Mumbai on Friday night.

The tie will be played at the CCI's Brabourne stadium, with the North Stand being used for paying spectators.

The last India-Pakistan Davis Cup tie, the fifth overall, was held in 1973 in Malaysia.

"We would be spending close to half a crore, but because of the strict Cup rules put in by the International Tennis Federation we would be able to display our own sponsors' logos only in the hospitality tents and not inside the arena," Oza said.

Preparation of the grass court, as desired by the Indian team think-tank of playing captain Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi, is on in full swing under instructions from Bengal Tennis Association secretary Hironmoy Chatterjee.

It will be ready much in advance of the tie, Oza added.

There will be one main court and two practice courts. Stands for about 2000 invitees and guests are being erected around the main court, Oza said, adding that tickets for the North stand would be on sale from April 1. School children will be allowed free.

India and Pakistan had qualified for the World Qualifying Group last year before losing to South Korea and Chinese Taipei respectively earlier this year and have been drawn against each other to decide their placing in next year's tournament.

Both teams are expected to arrive on April 1 and practice sessions would begin from April 2.

The teams will be accommodated at a five-star hotel close to the CCI.

The draw will be held on April 6 at 10 am. Governor of Maharashtra S M Krishna will pick the lots at Raj Bhavan.

Incidentally, Oza said, the last time Mumbai hosted a Davis Cup tie was way back in 1970 at the suburban Khar Gymkhana, between India and Sri Lanka.

More than four decades ago the CCI had hosted the encounter against the United States, when the great Ramanathan Krishnan and Chuck Mckinley played a memorable match, informed Oza.

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