India's Davis Cup team have a daunting task in their hands as they face former Davis Cup champions Czech Republic in the World Group Play-off tie in New Delhi starting Friday. India will pin their hopes on Somdev Devvarman and Yuki Bhambri in the singles draw, while Leander Paes and Rohan Bopanna will pair up for the doubles competition.
Though India might count themselves fortunate as Czech Republic's star player Tomas Berdych, who has been one of the best players in the ATP circuit, will not feature in the tie, that does not mean India will have an easy outing against the Czech, who still have Lukas Rosol and Jiri Vesley in the singles format.
It is Yuki Bhambri, who will start the proceedings for India in the singles when he takes on Rusol for the crucial opening match on Friday. It was Bhambri's performance against New Zealand where he won both the singles matches, which helped India reach the next stage of the competition.
The Indian team are going to rely on the youngster to deliver the goods, though his opponent, Rusol, has been a regular feature in the grand slams, which just establishes the tough task ahead of the Indian.
Both the players will be eager to hand a perfect start to their respective nations in the Davis Cup tie. Somdev Devvarman squares off against Jiri Versley in the second singles match of the day.
On paper, Czech singles players' are favourites, but Delhi's heat could play in India's favour as well.
The second day on Saturday will only witness the doubles competition, where India are expected to be a huge favourite as Paes and Bopanna are great players in the doubles competition. But the Czechs do have Radek Stepanek in the doubles arena along with Adam Pavlasek, who are equally good. Stepanek has also been a successful doubles player.
With Berdych not in the fray, the Indian team are eyeing the World Group qualification. Non-playing captain Anand Amritraj feels that without Berdych, they have a chance of winning the tie.
"With Berdych it would have been out of our reach but now I think we have a much better chance. Having said they have a guy in top-50 one on top-100, and Stepanek is there,it is going to be tough," PTI quoted Amritraj as saying.
Berdych or no Berdych, India have to come up with their A class game. The Indian team have to win three matches overall to win the tie and reach the elite group, which will be an acid test for the home team.
Day 1 (Friday): Yuki Bhambri vs Lukas Rosol
Somdev Devvarman vs Jiri Vesley
Day 2 (Saturday): Rohan Bopanna-Leander Paes vs Adam Pavlasek-Radek Stepanek
Day 3 (Sunday) : Yuki Bhambri vs Jiri Vesley
Somdev Devvarman vs Lukas Rosol
Where to Watch live
The India Vs New Zealand Davis Cup action is scheduled for 10am IST (6:30 Czech Republic time) with live TV coverage in India on DD Sports, while Czech Republic viewers can watch the entire action live on Czech Tv.
Live streaming can be followed on Davis Cup tv.