Hyderabad: Will the officials of the Hyderabad Cricket Association take a break from their incessant infighting and remember that Mohammed Siraj should be honoured with a grand felicitation and a suitable gift? This is a task that must be done as soon as he is available in Hyderabad.
There was a time when five players from Hyderabad were in the Indian Test squad. But now there is just one hard working fast bowler who is holding aloft the flag and fighting for India.
There are state bodies which honour their players every time they are selected in the Indian team. Not just in cricket but other sports too. They rope in sponsors to arrange a memorable gift for their players. But HCA has done nothing noteworthy for Siraj.
He should have been accorded a magnificent welcome honour after he returned from a successful debut in Australia. Or at least when he was selected for the WTC final Test match. Two great opportunities have been wasted because the officials have been exchanging show cause notices on a daily basis. On the other hand all of them claim to be encouraging the players. But actions speak louder than words. What encouragement have they given so far? Siraj has been ignored.
Last month former star batsman V S S Laxman had made an expert assessment of the fast bowler’s technique and told siasat.com that Siraj has a bright future in international cricket. But every player needs some recognition to gain confidence and morale. Siraj should know and feel that he is a valued and cherished player in his home state.
A fast bowler’s career doesn’t last long. Siraj who caries the nickname of “Miya Magic” is now 27 years old and he is at his best. After another five years that may no longer be the case. This is the right time to encourage him and hope that he will break a few records and put the name of Hyderabad’s on everyone’s lips.
Hyderabad has had a great history in the sport and has produced many famous cricketers like Ghulam Ahmed, M.L. Jaisimha, Mohammed Azharuddin and several others. But the pool of talent is no longer being nourished as it should have been. At present Siraj is the only player who is playing his heart out for his country’s glory. This fact has to be remembered, acknowledged and appreciated by all concerned, especially the parent body, HCA.
It has not been an easy road for Siraj. He had to face racist abuse from spectators in Australia. Then he had to overcome the emotional trauma of losing his father while on the tour. Others may sympathise with him but only the sufferer knows what it feels like and how much it hurts. Siraj has been injured emotionally but has overcome it for the sake of his team and the country.
So wake up HCA. This is the right time to give him a pat on the back and tell him: “Sabash. Desh ka naam roshan karte raho. Hyderabad ka naam roshan karte raho. Hum sab ki duaen tumahare saath haiN.”
Abhijit Sen Gupta is a seasoned journalist who writes on Sports and various other subjects.