Money Makes the Ball Swing in Hyderabad Cricket Association?

HCA President Mohd Azharuddin inspecting the pitch at Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium in Hyderabad on Tuesday. Image credit: azharflicks/Twitter - Sakshi Post

By Reshmi AR

Hyderabad: Playing for the country is the dream of every sportsperson, irrespective of the game. In cricket in India, it is striking the proverbial pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. But the dream remains a pipe dream for many because before they get there, they may have to clear many hurdles. No, we are not talking about years of hard work (well, starting off in the early years), sweating it out to keep oneself fit, getting noticed by the school sports faculty, and if somehow you get lucky perhaps becoming eligible to play for the state. Before you reach the national level, you have to play for either the U-16, U-19, or U-25, and not to forget the prestigious Ranji trophy. The daily grind that goes into all this is a Herculean feat in itself, but that is a given. 

Coming to the State of Telangana, the Hyderabad Cricket Association  (HCA) was set up during the erstwhile united Andhra Pradesh to nurture talent which continues till today. The likes of Pataudi, ML Jaisimha, Abbas Ali Baig, Abid Ali, VVS Laxman, and Shivlal Yadav have been associated with the cricketing scene in Hyderabad. However, of late, the HCA has been dogged by controversies and has lost its sheen.

There seem to be several aberrations that need correction. If you thought you have immense talent and what it takes to become a good cricketer, you are mistaken. Turns out, getting selected to play for various tournaments also requires a whopping amount of moolah!

Shocked? Read on to know the details.

An exclusive report published in a leading English daily (DC) today, stated that Team Hyderabad's performance in the Ranji Trophy, under HCA president Mohd Azharuddin, has been dismal (four straight losses). The reason for the team's disappointing performance, the report states could be alleged corruption. 

There are 23 players in the current Hyderabad Ranji squad of which nine players are new. The report states that there is no clarity on the selection process. The DC staffer even spoke to the parents of a few players in the Hyderabad team, who admitted to allegedly shelling out as much as 30 lakh Rupees for selection to the Ranji team.  As per the report, corruption in HCA has allegedly gone up in Azhar's regime. This is indeed alarming. In a country like India replete with abundant talent across the nation, if selection hinges on lucre, the results can only be disastrous. 

An aspirant must be willing to allegedly pay up to Rs 15 lakhs to get selected for U-16, U-19, and U-25 teams, while the amount may range between Rs 20-30 lakhs to qualify for the Hyderabad Ranji team. The report states that surprisingly, a few current players in the Hyderabad Ranji team have not even played in the U-16, U-19, or U-25 cricket.

As per the BCCI, a selector must have played at least 25 first-class matches and possess 5 years of experience. However, the HCA is violating this rule with impunity. 

In a sports column of an English daily, former Hyderabad and Mumbai Ranji cricketer Vijay Mohan Raj spelled out his vision for HCA in 2023. In his note, he stated, "I expect that from this year we see the deserving young aspirants who hope to represent HCA at various levels are selected in the State teams on their ability to play." He goes on to add, Our image of being an organisation that has corruption in selection has to be erased in the New Year and this can happen only if players, parents, and selectors together say no to ‘touts’ who engage in manipulating the administrators who are at present enjoying absolute power.

The allegations of corruption in HCA are not new. For the unversed, Ambati Rayudu's public outburst way back in 2019 ruffled a few feathers. The Indian cricketer had tweeted to Telangana IT minister KTR, urging him to stop the rampant corruption in the HCA. Rayudu raised his voice against the money influence in HCA and expressed his concern over the future of Hyderabad cricketers and players given the state of affairs in the sports governing body. Ambati Rayudu posted, "How can Hyderabad be great when it’s cricket team is influenced by money and corrupt ppl who have numerous acb cases against them which are being swept under the carpet.” 

However, Azhar dismissed the allegations with a 'he is a frustrated cricketer' statement! What Azhar and other cricketers are aware of is common knowledge in many circles of Hyderabad. Ambati Rayudu was himself at the receiving end of an influential selector whose path he had crossed. It is said that this powerful selector who became one of the leading members in cricket selection, for the next few years, had vowed to crush Rayudu and end his career. The result was there for all to see—at the peak of his career, Rayudu, a prolific scorer, found himself at the rough end of the stick in cricket selection.

To cut a long story short, it's time for Mohd Azharuddin once the captain of the Indian cricket team and the HCA to come out clean and act. This is not only necessary to ensure deserving cricketers are given a chance and promote talent, but also to ensure they get a berth in the Indian cricket team and represent the State. As someone who not only has donned the national colours, but captained India’s cricket team, it is his moral duty to the nation.

Read More:

Back to Top