Hyderabad’s former captains anguished at the absence of local players in Sunrisers

Abhijit Sen Gupta
Abhijit Sen Gupta

The prestigious Indian Premier League cricket tournament for 2021 will soon get underway but for Hyderabad fans and players there will be little to cheer about. Because the team which represents the city, namely Sunrisers Hyderabad, will not have even a single Hyderabad based player in the side.

So in what way is this a Hyderabad team then ? Is it not a shame that no Hyderabad based player has been included ? This is the birthplace of many talented players. Two of them, Ghulam Ahmed and Mohammad Azharuddin, went on to lead the Indian team and one became a captain of Pakistan’s Test team. Namely Asif Iqbal who was born in Hyderabad and studied here but migrated to Pakistan later.

There are mainly two causes for this non-inclusion of Hyderabad players. One is the fact that Hyderabad’s players did not have the on field performances to make them automatic choices for the IPL teams. Secondly there was not adequate push to persuade the Sunrisers management to include a few names as a method of encouragement to local players.

If Arjun Tendulkar could have been inducted into the Mumbai Indians side why was the same not done for other young players in different cities ?

Former players who represented the state and country are disconsolate and dejected. They feel that a golden opportunity to encourage Hyderabad youngsters has been frittered away. Two distinguished former captains of Hyderabad, namely Arshad Ayub and M.V. Narasimha Rao, both of whom also represented India in Tests, spoke to Siasat and expressed a deep sense of anguish at the selection policy that has led to this sorry state of affairs.

Narasimha Rao better known now as Bobby Rao, pointed out that there should have been a mutual agreement between the Sunrisers management and the Hyderabad Cricket Association about selection of local talent in the team. There should have been an understanding that two or three young Hyderabad players would be in the side. If not in the playing eleven, at least in the overall team.

“A few youngsters should have been included in the side to give them experience. It would have improved their confidence and they would have learnt a lot by practicing with the world’s best players,” said Rao. “They would have picked up so many aspects of tactics, attitudes, methods and techniques just by rubbing shoulders with the top notch guys.”

“I remember that when I started playing for the Ranji team in the 1970s I was the youngest in the Hyderabad squad. There were about seven Test players who were my seniors. I got to know so much from each of them,” Rao said. “Why was there no policy in place to encourage youngsters now in the IPL ? “

ADOPT MODERN COACHING METHODS – M.V.N. RAO.

M.V.N Rao
M.V.N Rao

“Then there is another angle to this whole issue. That arises from the question why Hyderabad has not produced players of late who are an automatic choice for IPL teams. Why have we come to a situation where IPL teams can afford to ignore our players. Hyderabad’s youth need more professional coaching to bring them upto the mark,” says Rao.

“The modern game has changed a lot but our coaching methods have not kept pace with the changing times. Nowadays coaching should be not just about technique and practice but also about diet, attitude, lifestyle and in short everything that a professional player needs to inculcate in order to reach the top,” says Rao.

“A coach must be able to understand which of his wards will be a Test player, which one will be an ODI player and which will be a T20 expert. And coaching has to be imparted accordingly. The reverse sweeps, the power hitting, the agile catches – all these must be taught from a young age.”

Rao himself has coached eight players from Ireland who ended up playing for their country in the 2011 World Cup so he knows what he is talking about. Moreover he was also Hyderabad’s most successful captain having won a Ranji trophy, Irani Cup and Moin ud Dowla trophy during his tenure. So his vast experience and success bestow tremendous weightage to his views.

GOLDEN OPPORTUNITY LOST – ARSHAD AYUB.

Arshad Ayub maintains his passion for cricket by mentoring youngsters - Cricket Country
Arshad Ayub

Arshad Ayub who was one of the most successful all rounders of his time expressed similar opinions. Although for the Indian team he was mainly a reliable off spin bowler, it must not be forgotten that he has a double century to his credit in the Ranji trophy besides other big scores.

“It was a golden chance to give some of our younger players experience and encouragement. The inclusion of a player like Tanmay Agarwal for example would have sent the right signals to our younger generation of players. He had played in the IPL earlier so he had experience and could easily have fitted into the team,” said Arshad.

“The Sunrisers carry the name of Hyderabad as the team’s home base so this matter of including Hyderabad players should have been looked into. It is extremely unfortunate that none have been included. It is truly disheartening,” lamented Arshad.

However, on the chances of the Sunrisers team in the tournament, Arshad was upbeat. “It is a well balanced side. It has the potential to do really well. The batting line up is very strong. There are David Warner, Jonny Bairstow, Jason Roy, Kane Williamson and others. In bowling too SRH looks strong. It has Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jason Holder and leg spinner Rashid Khan who can be devastating. So all told, SRH is a very good side.”

“But Hyderabad needs to work seriously to lift the standard here. See the wonders that the NCA has done for the national etam. We must learn from them and work on the same lines in Hyderabad for a better future for our cricket players,” Arshad concluded.

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

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