Hyderabad: In the now concluded auction of players for the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021, the Hyderabad-based franchise SunRisers Hyderabad (SRH) bought and included three players into the team–Kedar Jadhav, Mujeeb Ur Rehman and Jagadeesha Suchith.
Though the team now looks balanced with a reliable middle order and bowling attack, the team’s fans are visibly unhappy with the non-inclusion of local players. They are of the opinion that SRH is the only team that shows no interest in giving chances to local players, while franchises of Chennai Super Kings (CSK) and Royal Challengers Bengaluru (RCB) provides them ample opportunities.
Earlier, veteran cricketer and president of Hyderabad Cricket Association (HCA) Mohammed Azharuddin wrote in a tweet that he was disappointed not to see a single player from Hyderabad in the team.
While some criticized the HCA itself for its internal politics and non-development of infrastructure here, some agreed that it is the responsibility of the city franchise to push local players.
A Telugu player himself, right-handed batsman Hanuma Vihari shared a cryptic message about him remaining unsold at this auction too.
Last week, Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) legislator Danam Nagendar warned the team management that they will not allow cricket matches in Hyderabad, if local players aren’t selected. He sought the team should accommodate local players or “remove the name of our city from SunRisers Hyderabad.”
Guntur-based Prithvi Yarra, the only Telugu player in the squad, was also left off from the team before the auction. Until 2018, the fast bowler from Hyderabad, Mohammed Siraj was a part of SRH. He was later bought by the RCB in the 2018 auction.
Disappointed Hyderabadi fans
SRH fans are evidently disappointed. Even as the team looks studded with stars like David Warner, Kane Williamson and Rashid Khan, many were excited to see if any ‘Gully Boy’ gets picked up in the auction.
“Why don’t you name the team by some other name? If you take Hyderabad’s name, why aren’t there any city-based or even Telugu players in the team? All the franchises maintain local players, except SRH,” said Upender Jillapally, adding that the management made the fans ashamed.
Another Surender Nagesh wrote: “Surely, SRH could’ve done better. Wonder what the SRH team is doing for the sport and the local talent here in the two Telugu states…We want more local talent in the team.”
“Don’t you have any faith in local players?” asked Rajesh Gubbala. “SRH fans, please take a note. Do not blindly follow the team which failed to pick up our players who were available for low prices in the auction.”
Many fans wrote about Hyderabadi Namboori Thakur Tilak Verma, who failed to attract not only SRH but also other franchises. Verma, who represented Hyderabad in Ranji and Syed Mushtaq Ali tournaments, is an all-rounder. He was also named in India’s squad for the 2020 Under-19 Cricket World Cup.
However, another off-spin all-rounder Kanumuri Bhagat Verma was roped in by CSK for his base price of Rs 20 lakh.
Some suggested an idea to mandatorily have a few local players in the team. “We are unable to connect to the local players! There should be a rule to have one or two local players mandatorily in all teams!” wrote Sourav Sinha.
“SRH always hurts me in this matter. Having Hyderabad in its name isn’t enough, you should encourage at least one local player in a season,” said Siddarth. “There should be a requirement that 20 per cent of the team comes from that city!” suggested Sainath Gajendran.