The crisis in the Hyderabad Cricket Association is rapidly spiraling out of control. The latest charges leveled against President Mohammed Azharuddin, that he has signed on as mentor for the Northern Warriors cricket club in Abu Dhabi, has put the former Indian captain on a sticky wicket. It seems very unlikely now that Azhar and his rivals will be able to work out a compromise and work together for the betterment of cricket in the state.
S. Venkateswaran, former Secretary of the HCA, spoke about the predicament to siasat.com and said: “What is needed urgently is a saviour who can defuse the crisis and bring order amidst the chaos that is being witnessed on a daily basis in Hyderabad cricket. Right now the solution probably lies in the hands of the BCCI which is the parent body. If any organisation can put an end to the ongoing crisis then it is the BCCI.”
“For example the BCCI is running the show in the state of Jammu and Kashmir. They have some problems there and BCCI takes care of the administration. The same can be done for Hyderabad at least on a temporary basis,” he added. “The details about what is to be done is a matter that the BCCI must decide.”
“It may be recalled that a few years ago the High Court and BCCI had appointed Professor Ratnakar Shetty, General Manager of the BCCI, and two retired judges to oversee the affairs of the Hyderabad Cricket Association. One Test match against Bangladesh was conducted under their supervision. Everything went smoothly.
“Since the last few years there has been no grassroots level development. Tapping of talent and promotion of youngsters has come to a halt. It is a very sorry state of affairs. What encouragement will the young players get? Their morale will be destroyed when they see the officials fighting with each other daily,” Mr Venkateswaran lamented.
“The BCCI is like a parent to all state associations. When a parent has to bring a wayward child under control then the parent has to make some harsh decisions. So the BCCI must make some wise decisions here and follow up with a mix of hard and soft moves which will bring about an improvement in the present situation. It needs careful and balanced decision making,” he opined.
The viewpoint of Venkateswaran holds weight because of his vast experience as an able administrator. It is clear that the BCCI must come forward to restore normalcy and take the game forward. It may be recalled that the faction ridden Rajasthan Cricket Association had also been bogged down in disputes which pushed cricket affairs into disarray a few years ago. The BCCI had to step in to restore order there.
Now Hyderabad is facing a similar situation. If the situation does not improve quickly then it could suffer permanent damage to the status of Hyderabad in Indian cricket. The denial of IPL matches is just the beginning. The ICC T20 World Cup is coming up in India and again Hyderabad may be denied the right to hold a match because of infighting and disunity within the association.
If that happens then the cricket fans in Hyderabad may be deprived of the chance to witness big time cricket again in the city even after the coronavirus problem has disappeared. It is imperative that the mess in Hyderabad cricket is sorted out as early as possible or the repercussions could be felt over the coming decades.
Abhijit Sen Gupta is a seasoned journalist who writes on Sports and various other subjects.