The image of the Hyderabad Cricket Association has plunged to a new low thanks to the ticket fiasco in connection with the T20 international match which is to be held in Hyderabad soon. After a long time Hyderabad had been allotted an international match and the cricket fans were eagerly looking forward to witnessing the match live at the Rajiv Gandhi stadium. But what they got were blows from police lathis that left several injured.
The peaceful fans had to suffer injury and humiliation so today their anger is fully justified. No amount of damage control can alleviate their physical suffering and mental trauma. Some fans have even called for a boycott of the match.
It is clear that HCA is sliding into complete chaos. Infighting between the office bearers has ruined the association’s functioning. Siasat.com has learnt that the important job of ticket sales was left to inexperienced persons who made a complete mess of the issue.
Former Secretary S. Venkateswaran was the man who used to handle ticketing on earlier occasions.
He said: “I was in-charge of ticketing for 15 international matches in Hyderabad. The present Police Commissioner C.V. Anand was the vice president of the HCA then and he was completely satisfied with the way we handled it. Not a single ticket was unaccounted for. There was no mismanagement. Everything was transparent. This time I am hearing that tickets were sold in black and there was no accountability. The President left it to untrained and inexperienced people who were unable to handle the job properly,” said Venkateswaran.
“They were under pressure from different organisations including political leaders to give free tickets and they lost all control. There was very little left for the public. That is why fans were at the receiving end. The fans are our most important supporters. If the fans are treated like this they will desert the game. Then who will support the game? I was shocked by what happened. Never before have we seen such things in Hyderabad,” said Venkat.
Siasat.com has come to know that the Additional PS to the Minister (PE, Sports and Youth Services, Tourism and Culture and Archaeology) has requested the HCA in a letter to provide 50 tickets in the VVIP category @ Rs.2000 each, 10 Gallery tickets @ 7500 each, 100 Normal tickets @1000 each and one VIP Gallery box @ 2 lakh – 25 numbers. If political leaders put such demands, then what will be left for the ordinary public? No wonder that Azharuddin quickly announced that tickets have been sold out leaving the common fans high and dry.
Former Test cricketer and HCA Secretary Shivlal Yadav was dismayed too. “I deeply regret what happened to the fans. The President is the man who must take the blame. After all, he is running the show by himself. If everything had gone well, he would have taken the entire credit. Now he must take the entire blame. But I am sorry to say that even now he has no remorse,” said Shivlal who has also held important posts in the BCCI.
V.S. Anjaneyulu is a devoted cricket fan who said that he is lucky that he was not among the people who were beaten. “Earlier we used to buy tickets from banks. That system had worked well. Why was it not done now? Is it because the HCA President wants to provide tickets to select people only? Because he wants to please his voters before the HCA elections?” Anjaneyulu asked.
Now the question that arises is what will the parent body BCCI do about it? Everything is out in the media. The BCCI is aware of it. They cannot turn a blind eye anymore and pretend that they do not know. Hyderabad’s name has even blackened in the international arena. The HCA was already in the news for all the wrong reasons and this incident has confirmed that the HCA is inefficient and incapable of handling an important task.
Hyderabad may be blacklisted in allocation of international matches in future is concerned. The constant factionalism was bad enough and now this ticket debacle has further ruined everything. How much lower can the HCA go? The visiting Australian players and the Australian media which are following the matches will also sneer at Hyderabad. Today Hyderabad has become a laughing stock in the international sports arena, all because of HCA.