Disunity mars HCA functioning; AGM fails to sort out differences

Hyderabad: There was a need to pull out corruption by the roots. There was a dire need to take the bull by the horns and bury the malady for good. Instead what was witnessed was disunity in the face of challenge. Not enough was accomplished when the much awaited AGM of the Hyderabad Cricket Association took place at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium on Sunday.

The first few points on the agenda were discussed and settled. A Cricket Advisory Committee was named and previous matters, regarding accounts and annual budget, appointing auditors and their remuneration, all went well. But everything fell apart when the crucial matter of selecting the ombudsman came up. 

The contentious matter relating to the appointment of an Ombudsman for the HCA has been pending for a long time and it was the stumbling block yet again. The warring parties failed to come to a mutual agreement and the matter will be taken up again on April 11. 

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But the much needed willingness of the divided house to bring itself together and work for the greater good of cricket was conspicuous by its absence. It was distressing to note that former players who had fought for the common cause of Hyderabad on the cricket field had now become sworn adversaries and were unable to forge a foundation for unity and teamwork. Instead they traded charges and chose to wash dirty linen in public.

President Mohammed Azharuddin put forward the name of Justice (Rtd.) Deepak Verma for the post of Ombudsman but faced stiff opposition from the other side. Which was led by former test cricketer Arshad Ayub. Neither party would relent and the matter ended in pandemonium.

It may be recalled that Azharuddin had wished to appoint Justice Verma last year too. Justice Verma, a former judge of the Supreme Court, had agreed to be the new ombudsman of the HCA and even given his written consent to the Apex Council. But the move was later stalled. The appointment of an Ombudsman is crucial for the future and is one of the recommendations of the Lodha Committee.

What is the way forward?

Very obviously the primary objective should be that a spirit of mutual consent and cooperation must be forged in order to make headway. For the betterment of the game and for the players and fans, the warring parties must find a way to converge their energies towards a single goal.

A few days ago the former captain of Hyderabad, M.V.Narasimha Rao, in a chat with this correspondent, had expressed his anguish at the state of affairs in Hyderabad cricket. 

“We are cricketers. We have played together and fought as a team. Why can we not do it again? Why can’t cricketers come together and find a solution for Hyderabad?”

If the current crop of players is to be helped, one very obvious path stands out immediately as a future course of action. That is to revive the HCA cricket academy which was doing a splendid job in training talented youngsters. The boys were given top flight inputs not just about their game but also about fitness, diet and mental approach. In short, the required base was laid to turn them into top level professionals.

Hyderabad has never lacked talent on the field. There is no reason to think that the tap has been turned off. Maybe there is another Laxman or another Azharuddin waiting in the wings. Maybe right now such boys are playing their hearts out and hoping to get a chance to show their merit at the top level. But the shenanigans off the field by the HCA administrators are hampering their progress.  

It may harm the long term prospects of the youngsters in the sport. The power hungry men have to realise the calamity that may befall Hyderabad cricket if they do not sink their differences quickly and come to an understanding. But right now it looks like the young blood will have to wait. The storm clouds have not yet passed. The road to the future is still thorny and difficult to tread.

Abhijit Sen Gupta is a seasoned journalist who writes on Sports and various other subjects.

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