Hyderabad players suffered because of admin politics: Azharuddin
Mohammad Azharuddin, the former India captain who was once banned for life, is back as an administrator, having recently become the president of Hyderabad Cricket Association (HCA). He spoke to Mumbai Mirror about his agenda.
You have contested twice in Parliamentary elections (won once). Did the experience come handy in the HCA election?
The General Elections are totally different from these elections. But yes, the experience of fighting those elections really helped.
Was it really difficult? You actually won comfortably.
Small elections are very tough, they are like chasing small targets. When you chase small totals, there is always this danger of faltering. You think you can win but you might end up losing, sometimes. The figures may tell a different tale, but it was not an easy election. We worked very hard for this. It was an all-round team effort. I am very happy for my panel, which swept the election.
So what has clinched the election in your favour?
I won because I was sincere in my effort to convince people that I want to do something for Hyderabad cricket. In the last three-four years, Hyderabad cricket really suffered, suffered too much. There is no dearth of talent, but the systems are not in place. I need to get the systems right, have to have the right people in right places. Then we will have an impact.
After you and VVS Laxman, there has not been a player from Hyderabad who has played consistently for India.
I am very disappointed for this, (that) there has not been a single player (of that standard). Except for (Mohammed) Siraj, there is no one in the current scheme of things. There are players who can go on to become big, but they need encouragement and guidance. In the last few years, there was in-fighting among the members of the association. It was an illegal team as the last election was illegal. The whole system was illegal. They started on a wrong note and ended on a wrong note. The players suffered because of dirty politics among the people who were elected at that time.
How do you plan to revive Hyderabad cricket?
I want to have academies and right coaches. Now we have 33 districts; I want to take the game to the districts. There is a lot of raw and untapped talent there. I want to take care of all this. Currently about 10 districts are affiliated to the HCA. We will have associate membership for the other districts and then we will give them affiliation. The (Telangana) government is also willing to help us develop cricket in the rural areas.
You went through many trials and tribulations. When you got elected, was there anything that crossed your mind?
First thing that crossed my mind was to thank the almighty God and my parents, who were always supportive of me. Then I thought of my grandfather. Whatever I am today is because of him. I also thought of my second son (who died in an accident in 2011) and my eldest son Abbas, who has been very supportive of me. Then, of course, the people who had backed me in my tough times. I am thankful to all of them.
Apart from the family, was there anyone from the cricket fraternity who has helped you?
I had the support of all the cricketers. Quite a few players called to wish me (after the election).
What do you think of the Indian team?
I think they are doing well. So far it has been very good.
You know Ravi Shastri very well – as a player and teammate. Do you think he is the right man for the job?
I don’t want to comment on all those things. I don’t want to say who is right or wrong. Yes, the team is doing well.
Have you never thought of coaching?
I was very open to coaching also. At the end of the day, God has to decide that. I was very interested in doing that. Now that it is not happening, I have come into administration. I want to do well here.
When you enter the BCCI office on October 23 as an elected administrator, do you have any one thing in mind that you want changed or introduced?
I have many ideas, I don’t want to say it now. In the meeting I will put forth my views.