The important decision to complete the 2021 IPL season by organising the remaining matches in the UAE was taken by the BCCI at its Special General Meeting held today. For Mohammed Azharuddin, President of the Hyderabad Cricket Association, it was a morale booster when he was given permission to attend the meeting instead of Shivlal Yadav who had been put up by his rival group.
The BCCI delayed announcing the name of the Hyderabad representative till the last moment. The Hyderabad conundrum is a tricky one and all angles were considered and legal experts consulted before the decision was finally taken. With this verdict today, Azhar’s position in the BCCI and in the HCA has been strengthened. On the other hand for Shivlal Yadav it has been a setback.
For the HCA President it was a confirmation of his stand that he was following the rules and constitutional procedures. He must be glad that the BCCI has recognised his approach. He had repeatedly asserted that any meeting of the Apex Council without his presence was illegal. And it was during one such meeting that Shivlal Yadav had been appointed as the man to represent Hyderabad.
Azhar has also claimed that whatever he is doing is for the best interests of cricket and that the constitution of the HCA deserved precedence over individuals. So the BCCI, by giving him the nod, seems to have agreed with his stand on the issue.
“All this would not have been possible without the strong support from each of you who have stood by me through these challenging times. The battle is not over yet. We have miles to go before we sleep,” stated Azhar in a message to the clubs of the HCA.
But the HCA President should now find ways and means to make the state body function smoothly. That will be the next task for Azhar. The league season is scheduled to begin in June and the national domestic season is likely to get underway later. So it is high time that the HCA pulled up its socks and got some concrete preparations going.
After the BCCI meeting, an official statement was released by Jay Shah, Secretary of the BCCI. It read: “The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) on Saturday has announced that completion of the remaining matches of the VIVO Indian Premier League 2021 season will be done in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) considering the monsoon season in India in the months of September and October this year. The decision was taken at a Special General Meeting held virtually, where the members unanimously agreed to resume the IPL tournament. The BCCI SGM further authorised the Office Bearers to seek an extension of time from the ICC to take an appropriate call on the hosting of the ICC T20 World Cup 2021.
However, ultimately, it will be up to the ICC to decide whether the T20 World Cup will be given to India. If the ICC’s assessment is that conditions are still not safe and that the situation may not improve till October, then that event too may be shifted out of India.
Nine venues across India including Hyderabad had been selected to host the ICC T20 World Cup tournament. But after this decision was made, the second wave of COVID created havoc throughout the country. The shortage of vaccines has resulted in compounding the chaos.
But domestic cricket players in India will be disappointed to learn that no decision was arrived at regarding compensation for cancelled and truncated tournaments. Several hundred players and support staff derive sustenance from the game and are eagerly awaiting clearance of their dues. The domestic calendar went for a toss last year due to the lockdown and the coronavirus threat. This affected domestic players severely but this issue was not taken up for discussion by the BCCI.
Abhijit Sen Gupta is a seasoned journalist who writes on Sports and various other subjects.