Cricketers continue to suffer in HCA bickering


Hyderabad, who had a disastrous last season, will seriously fall short of match practice when the T20 Syed Mushtaq Ali tournament or Ranji Trophy starts

Hyderabad: A former Hyderabad Ranji cricketer, with a tinge of sadness, asked did you see how three Andhra cricketers – Vijay Kumar, AG Pradeep and Suresh Kumar – were honoured the other day by the Andhra Cricket Association. “It was indeed a nice feeling and I want to know when did this last happen in the city with Hyderabad Cricket Association (HCA) honouring a player?” asked this former first class cricketer.

This is something missing in Hyderabad where cricket has taken the back seat with the constant internal bickering taking the centre stage. It is sad and unfortunate this unending infighting has totally ruined Hyderabad cricket and it continues to dog the game. The Covid-19 has curtailed all the activities this season but a few State associations began their preparations to the long-delayed domestic season quietly. A few of them conducted tournaments in a bio-secure bubble and got some activities started so that if the BCCI announces the start of the new season, their players will have some match practice in some way or the other.

But for the Hyderabad cricketers, neither is there any bio-secure bubble camp nor the much-talked local leagues getting started. Surely, Hyderabad, who had a disastrous last season, will seriously fall short of match practice when the T20 Syed Mushtaq Ali tournament or Ranji Trophy starts. There is no planning or preparedness for the new season. HCA president Mohammad Azharuddin has voiced his concern for the risk involved if the leagues are played without any bio-bubble environment.

But secretary R Vijayanand and other Apex Council members did not agree to Azharuddin’s view. The leagues were to start two weeks ago. They even conducted Covid-19 tests on players, umpires and scorers. But it ran into a roadblock as there was no clear idea as to how many teams will feature in the three-day league. But they even went to the extent of including 23 teams for the season. This decision stirred a hornets’ nest with club secretaries suspecting something fishy in the whole affair. In fact, the teams that had the maximum number of Ranji players were not in the three-day list. Was it necessary to have so many teams in the already truncated season? Were some of the teams deserved to play in the three-day leagues? It indeed raised a few tricky questions and the intentions of the Apex Council.

In fact, HCA clearly needs an Ombudsman at this juncture. The issue of the Ombudsman continues to be a puzzle. There is no clarity even as Azharuddin had made it a point that Justice (retd) Deepak Verma’s appointment as Ombudsman was approved by the Apex Council. But Vijayanand and others have insisted that they never did so. This issue has reached a dead end. They say that the Annual General Meeting (AGM) should discuss the name of the Ombudsman. Even the appointment of CEO is in limbo though HCA had advertised for the post and received the applications a few weeks ago. The AGM has to appoint a Cricket Advisory Committee also and who will in turn name the senior selectors. When will this happen?

With no sign of the AGM being held after the November 29 postponement, there seems to be no light at the end of the tunnel. It is time the officials’ concerned sort out their differences to end this ugly drama.

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