Leander praises youngsters

New Delhi: Leander Paes on Saturday took a dig at the rebel players saying those who decided to play for the country emerged the "real winners" in the end.

"All of us are aware of the situation and what's going on here. There was enough temptation not to play. But these youngsters in the squad resisted that and came to play.

"They decided to put the country first. They are already the real winners… I respect every one of them," said the veteran doubles star after he partnered Purav Raja to guide India to victory in doubles in the Asia-Oceania group Davis Cup tie against South Korea.

Leander was critical of the rebel players who set preconditions for making themselves available to play for India and tried to intervene in the selection of the squad for the Olympics.

"Let me make one thing very clear... I play for my flag. It is not a player's prerogative to get involved in governance and selection. We players are supposed to play, not get involved in selection and administration," he said .

"Before the 2012 Olympics, I was asked who I would like to play with. More specifically, which team would have better chance of winning a medal. I gave my opinion. But in the end, it was not the team that I suggested was selected and then the controversy started," he shot back, when asked why he gave preferences before the Olympics last year.

"I have absolutely no problem in playing with anybody whether it is Mahesh (Bhupathi), (Rohan) Bopanna, Vishnu (Vardhan) or Purav (Raja). I've always played with any partner I was asked to. All I knew was I was asked to play for the country," Leander said.

Leander even came out in support of S.P. Mishra, whose removal as the non-playing captain was one of the demands made by Somdev Dev Varman, Bhupathi, Bopanna and others.

"With all the stuff that goes on, it is good to have someone like SP uncle, who can balance a lot of things," he said. "He is the solid, calming force in the team, it makes lot of difference."

Though Leander was full of praise for his teammates, he admitted it would be a tough day for India on Sunday.

"Considering the conditions and how fit the Koreans are, tomorrow we have a tough task. It will be difficult. We have got a big job to do. The boys will have to come out and play against a formidable Korean team," he said.

Leander said he would like to have a big team at his disposal to ensure that youngsters get their chances.

"I would love to have a big team. These young boys (the current team) have got the experience. No matter who is selected, the game is bigger than all of us. I say bring four playing members and five reserves. I have to compliment AITA from bringing a big band of players in home ties," he said.

"Yesterday (Friday), one guy (Vijayant Malik) was stretchered off the court. He gave everything to the flag. It wasn't lack of preparation, it was opportunity to play at this stage. You have got to nurture them," he said.

Mishra confirmed that Vijayant who had suffered cramps on Friday, would be fit for Sunday's reverse singles.

Matches

MORE TOP STORIES TODAY

Delhi Daredevils vs Royal Challengers Bangalore

Delhi Daredevils vs Royal Challengers Bangalore

Kohli wins the toss and puts Delhi into bat. Chris Gayle MISSES OUT!!! More »

Kallis, Narine star in Knight Riders’ crushing win

Kallis, Narine star in Knight Riders’ crushing win

An all-round display saw Knight Riders thump Mumbai Indians by 41 runs in the IPL-7 opener. More »

Gavaskar wants a clean IPL

Gavaskar wants a clean IPL

"Integrity is non-negotiable..." says the BCCI's interim chief ahead of Season 7 of the tainted league. More »

'Yak' Kallis still on top of his game

'Yak' Kallis still on top of his game

The 38-year-old South African veteran turned it on for Kolkata Knight RIders in the opening match of IPL-7. More »

Srinivasan named in fixing report: SC

Srinivasan named in fixing report: SC

The court emphasised that the tainted administrator can no longer work for the BCCI. More »

Yuvraj happy to play for RCB: Kohli

Yuvraj happy to play for RCB: Kohli

New-look RCB will play their first game of IPL-7 on Thursday. More »

IPL: News Line

IPL: News Line

A round-up of all the news from this season of the IPL. More »

Shane Watson issues moral warning

Shane Watson issues moral warning

'Everyone knows what is right and what is wrong and if you do the wrong thing it will be found out' More »

Why I'm not looking forward to the IPL

Why I'm not looking forward to the IPL

Welcome to another season of a league that many watch but few trust. More »

Nepal players call off boycott

Nepal players call off boycott

Thaw in relations after formation of an advisory committee that would work in tandem with the Cricket Association of Nepal. More »

Johnson may quit T20s for Tests

Johnson may quit T20s for Tests

Australia's Mitchell Johnson may quit limited-overs cricket to prolong his test career with an eye on the 2015 Ashes series in England, the fast bowler… More »

There's a lot going on: Fleming

There's a lot going on: Fleming

He experienced anxious moments in the lead-up to the tournament as the courts decided on whether to suspend the franchise, he said, but stressed that the… More »

Latif couldn’t work with tainted players

Latif couldn’t work with tainted players

Former Pakistan cricket captain Rashid Latif said Tuesday he turned down the job of national chief selector because he could not work with ex-players tainted… More »

We are not over-confident: Bailey

We are not over-confident: Bailey

Indian Premier League — George Bailey-led Kings XI Punjab will face Chennai Super Kings on Friday. More »

Big runs expected, with bat and ball

Big runs expected, with bat and ball

Royal Challengers Bangalore: Their main concern, once again, is the fast bowling More »

Taxing issue — BCCI hits roadblock

Taxing issue — BCCI hits roadblock

MoU between BCCI & its units to avoid double taxation delayed after a few decline to share details. More »

Black Caps pick rookie duo for West Indies

Black Caps pick rookie duo for West Indies

New Zealand selectors included two new caps in a 15-man Test squad named Tuesday to tour the West Indies, with injury-hit spinner Dan Vettori's future… More »

The stage is set for IPL-7 to start

The stage is set for IPL-7 to start

The Preview — Defending champions Mumbai Indians take on Kolkata Knight Riders More »

Srinivasan appeals to court to allow BCCI comeback

Srinivasan appeals to court to allow BCCI comeback

He was aggrieved by the allegations against him during the hearing. More »

Klinger on his exit from South Australia

Klinger on his exit from South Australia

Michael Klinger has revealed he felt compelled to leave South Australia after being told he would be only a fringe part of the Redbacks' plans for next season, and disputed the suggestion that he left… More »

India: cricket's Brazil

India: cricket's Brazil

They are tough to beat with a big talent base exposed to good facilities. (CYCSPL) More »

Delhi Daredevils say no to gifts

Delhi Daredevils say no to gifts

Franchises are doing their bit to refurbish the image of the tainted league. More »

India-Pakistan Test series likely in 2015

India-Pakistan Test series likely in 2015

The revival of Indo-Pak Test ties could take place in UAE. More »

Kohli hopes to end RCB trophy drought

Kohli hopes to end RCB trophy drought

'This time around we will hope to go few more steps ahead and actually get that trophy' More »