New Delhi, Mar 16 (PTI) Veteran player Sania Mirza and the country's best singles player Ankita Raina will lead India in the next month's Billie Jean King Cup World Group Play-offs away tie against Latvia as the AITA named a five-member team on Tuesday for the tournament.
The five-member team also has Karman Kaur Thandi, young Zeel Desai, who is making steady progress, and Rutuja Bhosale.
The All India Tennis Association (AITA) selection committee picked the team after a virtual meeting on Tuesday.
Riya Bhatia, who was a playing member last year, will be the reserve player of the team, which will be captained by Vishal Uppal.
The two-day away tie will be played from April 16 on the indoor hard courts at the National Tennis Centre, Lielupe, Jurmala.
India had qualified for the World Group Play-offs for the first time after finishing second in the Asia/Oceania Group I tie, held in Dubai in March 2020 while Latvia lost 2-3 to USA in their group.
The tie will be a tough test for the Indians as Latvia are expected to be led by former French Open champion and world number 53 Jelena Ostapenko along with 2018 US Open semifinalist Anastasija Sevastova, who is ranked 56 now but was placed 11th in February 2018.
They had run Serena-Williams led USA close in the Qualifiers tie last year.
India's hopes will lie on Ankita, who has a knack for punching above her weight, and seasoned Sania's experience.
The World Group Play-offs of the tournament, previously known as Fed Cup, have been postponed twice earlier due to the coronavirus pandemic.