Cricketer Khalid Abdul Qaiyum returns to Hyderabad; searching for city’s soul

Over the last three decades the size of Hyderabad has expanded massively but the soul of the city has shrunk in inverse proportion, feels former Hyderabad cricketer Khalid Abdul Qaiyum who represented Hyderabad in the Ranji trophy for 14 years before he went off to the USA in 1990.

“Now the people of the city are very keen to make money. But they have become more self-centered. They care less for the rest of humanity. The pursuit of wealth is the only thing that matters. The bonhomie and camaraderie that I had seen in my youth, has disappeared from the ambience of the twin cities,” he said.

Khalid has returned to Hyderabad for an extended stay to set up a cricket coaching centre named K & S Residential Academy at CBR ground in Gollur near Shamshabad along with another former Ranji trophy player Salamath Ali Khan. Before leaving for the USA, Khalid had already trained several youngsters at the All Saints school premises who later played in the Ranji trophy. The new academy will have all the latest facilities and the enterprising duo of Khalid and Salamath hope to produce more top level cricketers.

Khalid belonged to the golden period of Hyderabad cricket of the 1980s. He made his debut in 1976 in the Ranji trophy. He was a sound middle order batsman and a reliable bowler. His best moment was when he won the Ranji trophy as a member of the Hyderabad team in the 1986-1987 season. And his most cherished knock was the century that he scored for Hyderabad against the Rest of India team in the Irani Trophy in the same year. That was the season, when under the leadership of Hyderabad’s most successful captain M. V. Narasimha (Bobby) Rao, Hyderabad won the Ranji as well as Irani trophy tournaments.

In 1990 Khalid left his hometown and settled in Atlanta in the USA where he worked in the IT sector. There he also coached about 100 boys who were interested in cricket. Mostly these boys were from Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Australian and English backgrounds. So as a coach Khalid has had a huge amount of experience.

The way things are being done in Hyderabad has left him disappointed. “This is not the Hyderabad that I used to know in my student life. People were caring and social life was easy going. There was a sense of pride in being a Hyderabadi. We were different and there was a feeling of harmony with nature. Life in Hyderabad was not a rat race. We had time to sit and chat endlessly in Irani hotels over a cup of tea. But now many of those famous old cafes have been demolished. They have been replaced by posh shopping malls. Life has become very fast paced and centered on money. Nobody has time for friends like we used to have,” said Khalid.

“Hyderabad cricket too has taken a turn for the worse. Although I live in the USA, I get news of what is happening in my home town. I have heard that these days players can buy a place in Hyderabad’s teams — right from the age group tournaments to senior level Ranji trophy. This was unimaginable during my time. Even if someone wanted to do it, he would not have the money. When I started playing for Hyderabad in 1976, we were paid Rs 50 per match. When I left the game in 1990 we used to get Rs 500 per match. I am extremely sad that my beloved Hyderabad has degenerated to this level. We need a top-to-bottom overhaul of the system to root out the evil and restore the old glory of Hyderabad,” concluded Khalid.