The Asia/Oceania Zone Group I first-round tie will be held in India on 8-10 February.
Though Paes has been named the non-playing captain, he may still play if he recovers from his ligament tear by 7 February, when the draw will take place.
Paes tore an ankle ligament during a second-round match against Indian-American pair Rohan Bopanna and Rajeev Ram in the just-concluded Australian Open.
’We have an even chance of victory this time as our players are in good form and shape. With Denis Istomin and Farrukh Dustov, we are favourites in singles. And now with Leander unsure for the tie, our chances in doubles too have brightened,’ Lebed told IANS after a practice session.
’Moreover, we are better prepared this time. Two years ago, in Jaipur, we didn’t have shoes for grass courts, but everything is in place now.’
Lebed, however, conceded that with the home crowd on their side, India would be a tough opponent.
India is ranked 29th in Davis Cup competition, while Uzbekistan is just one place below.
Lebed admitted he is relying heavily on his best player, Istomin, to deliver the goods and it was visible from the special attention the world’s 184th ranked player was getting from the coach at the Delhi Lawn Tennis Association (DLTA) courts.
For the last three days, Lebed has been working extensively with Istomin on the DLTA hard courts, while the other two members of the team, Sarvar Ikramov and Vaja Uzakov, have been practising against each other.
’Istomin is the best Uzbek player and he needs special attention. Of late, he is in good form, which was evident in his Australian Open performance. I am expecting him to win his singles matches,’ Lebed said.
Istomin lost to Lleyton Hewitt in four sets in the Australian Open second round.
Lebed revealed that in all probability Istomin would be pairing Dustov for the doubles encounter.
Asked whether the team’s preparation was marred by the unavailability of grass courts for practice here, the Uzbek coach said: ’We came early to acclimatise to the conditions and hoped that the courts are ready for practice, but it wasn’t so. We will get outdoor grass courts from Saturday and it will give us enough time to practice.’
The Uzbeks landed in the capital well before schedule to get a feel of grass as it is snowing in their country, leaving them with only indoor courts for practice.