ISLAMABAD - Pakistan chances of winning Davis Cup Asia-Oceania Group-II semifinal against Indonesia suffered a body blow as ace tennis star Aisamul Haq Qureshi’s services are not available to Pakistan team due to injury.

Pakistan team is currently in Jakarta, Indonesia and preparing for the crunch semifinal against the hosts which starts today (Tuesday). Pakistan contingent comprising Hameedul Haq non-playing captain, Aqeel Khan and Abid Ali Akbar left a week earlier prior to the tie, while Samir Iftikhar joined the team from the US. Aisam had earlier made it clear he would join the team after playing in Wimbledon. But he had played doubles match, suddenly swelling started to spread on his kneecap, and he informed the Pakistan Tennis Federation (PTF) president Salim Saifullah Khan about his unavailability. Now Hameed will act as playing captain, although his services are not required for playing purposes as draws have already been made, but he will add much-needed boost to Pakistan team.

Talking to The Nation on Monday, PTF secretary Khalid Rehmani confirmed that Aisam was unable to join Pakistan Davis Cup squad due to injury. “Off course, it will be a huge setback to Pakistan's ambitions of winning the tie. Earlier, the MRI reports showed that there was no need of concern and Aisam was very much joining the team, but now injury forced him to withdraw and we have to accept that reality. The tie was 60 to 70 percent in favor of Pakistan, had Aisam joined the squad and most importantly doubles match was almost 100 percent in our pocket, but now situation is changed. Now the outcome of the tie hangs in balance. Both the teams have equal chances of winning the tie.

“Aqeel is highly experienced campaigner and can provide Pakistan early initiative as he is playing the first singles match, while Samir Iftikhar and Abid Ali Akbar are also in good form. Although they are not as experienced as Aisam, yet they are playing competitive and quality tennis and Samir just returned after playing in US circuit. I still believe Pakistan can carve out victory under difficult but not impossible circumstances,” Khalid concluded.

Talking to The Nation from Jakarta, Pakistan's No 1 player Aqeel Khan said: “Off course, Asiam's absence is a bad news and can hamper our chances of winning the tie, which we were expecting to win as we had great chances, but now in my opinion, the tie hangs in balance and it is now anybody's match.”

“The opponents have quality players, but I am quite hopeful I will win my singles match against AH Sasongko. The only thing that can disturb me that he is a left hander. The courts are slow and weather is not that hot. Coming here earlier will certainly help us great deal in adjusting to the conditions. Samir Iftikhar will play second singles against DA Susanto while I along with Abid Ali Akbar will play doubles match tomorrow (Wednesday) against the pair of SW Trijati/DA Susanto. It will be interesting battle as Abid and I never played as partners before, but I know he is really a very good player and I hope things will go in our favour. Samir is also very young and energetic and has experience of playing Davis Cup before,” he added.

“It will all depend upon singles and most importantly doubles. If we pull off doubles victory as well, we can win the tie. In case, the results are not in favor, then I will play reverse singles against DA Susanto and if required, Samir will take on AH Sasongko in the fifth and last reverse singles. We will try to finish them off and not take the outcome into final day,” Aqeel concluded.