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Aqeel Khan - File photo/
Aqeel Khan - File photo/

KARACHI: Country’s top tennis player Aqeel Khan has expressed optimism about Pakistan’s chances against New Zealand in the second round Asia Oceania zone group two home tie which is being played away from home in the communal riot-hit Myanmar from April 5 to 7.

“We’ve an edge over opponents because the clash takes place on grass court which is our strong point,” he told Dawn on the eve of team’s departure to Bangkok on way to Myanmar on Saturday. The team leaves on Sunday.

Pakistan, it may be mentioned, has retained the same quartet which won the first round against Sri Lanka 3-2 at Colombo in February. The squad comprised Aisam-ul-Haq, Aqeel Khan, M. Abid and Yasir Khan. M. Khalid, a former Davis Cupper, will accompany as non-playing captain and Dr. Owais as team doctor.

New Zealand, on the other hand, whipped Lebanon 5-0 in the opener.

Continuing, Aqeel added, we will also have psychological advantage of Aisam, who will join the team from Miami where he has reached doubles final together with his Dutch partner.

Aqeel said he and other players haven’t gone to Myanmar in the past but one thing is certain that grass courts suit us. “We look forward to carrying Pakistan into the final,” he added.