HCA battle lines drawn: It is important to discard old attitudes and adopt clean practices

The scent of elections has set contentious affairs within the Hyderabad Cricket Association on fire again. The heavyweights within the organisation are re-examining their position and strategy vis-a-vis the decision made by Justice L. Nageswara Rao, which makes it imperative for a new look at several aspects.

The former captain of India, Mohammed Azharuddin, is eyeing another term as the President of the HCA and announced his decision recently.

On the other side are capable individuals and their supporters who can definitely pose a strong challenge to the ex-India skipper. But it is essential that Hyderabad gets its act together because some important international matches are coming up. The administration needs a stable and efficient system even more under the present circumstances.

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Cricket suffered enough

What must be remembered by all concerned parties is that Hyderabad cricket and the players have faced enough suffering. Hyderabad teams have cut a sorry figure in domestic competitions. The selections must be conducted under clear cut and transparent regulations. There should be no room for venality.

Corruption has dogged the HCA’s affairs for much too long. In this context, former Test cricketer and HCA and BCCI office bearer Shivlal Yadav is right in demanding an independent audit of HCA’s finances. Shivlal feels that first and foremost decisions should be to cleanup HCA accounts thoroughly. “There has been no audit and we are not aware of where the funds are going,” Shivlal said.

Shivlal’s views are relevant because in recent years Hyderabad’s reputation lies in tatters. Its teams have become something of a joke. Between 30 and 40 players are picked to represent Hyderabad. So obviously there is some underhand dealing involved. Payments are being made to buy a spot in the teams. That is clear to everyone.

Players, who had been Hyderabad’s pride in the past, are a disappointed and frustrated group today. Former player and then coach Noel Carr had told this correspondent some time ago that he was ashamed of what was happening in Hyderabad. “When we were playing it was such an honour to be selected for Hyderabad. We had to try so hard for a place in the team. Now it is a joke. Pay money, get selected. It is shameful.”

Corruption at all levels

Shockingly, corruption and bribery exist even at the league level. The instance where a criminal case was lodged against the office bearers of a club for accepting money from a player but still denying him a chance to adequately display his skills, brought to the forefront the extent and depth of the malady at every level. Indeed Hyderabad cricket is today synonymous with corruption, nepotism and the worst deeds that can be imagined in any sport.

Moreover one fails to understand how one individual and his family members can own multiple clubs. This helps not only in forming a cartel or a monopoly during elections, but also in manipulating match results. There should have been a rule against this practice long ago. Now that Justice Rao has taken steps to end this dubious practice it is hoped that this malady will be laid to rest.

In his order Justice Rao made it clear that one individual would not be allowed to own more than one club. The ruling also applies to his family members. No spouse, parent, sibling or children of an owner would be allowed to own other clubs. Many observers feel that this will go a long way to curb this proxy ownership of multiple clubs.

Far sighted approach needed

So something concrete has been done. But those who are vying for power, must also realise that it is in their best interest to adopt more transparent methods and eschew the malpractices of the past.

If Hyderabad prospers they will progress too. A far sighted attitude has to be cultivated. The new orders have set the ball rolling. One hopes that when the elections take place they will be free and fair and usher in better days for Hyderabad cricket. Hyderabad needs to return to its old glory as soon as possible.

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