Azharuddin on stampede for India vs Australia T20I tickets in Hyderabad: 'We have done nothing wrong'

Chaotic scenes unfolded as ticket sales started on Thursday. Telangana sports minister V. Srinivas Goud summoned Hyderabad Cricket Association (HCA) president Mohammad Azharuddin and top officials for an explanation.

Police personnel lathi-charge on fans who arrived to buy tickets for India vs Australia T20I match at the Gymkhana Ground in Hyderabad on Thursday.

Police personnel lathi-charge on fans who arrived to buy tickets for India vs Australia T20I match at the Gymkhana Ground in Hyderabad on Thursday. | Photo Credit: PTI

Chaotic scenes unfolded as ticket sales started on Thursday. Telangana sports minister V. Srinivas Goud summoned Hyderabad Cricket Association (HCA) president Mohammad Azharuddin and top officials for an explanation.

The Gymkhana Ground in Hyderabad witnessed stampede and lathi-charge as thousands thronged for tickets to India-Australia T20I scheduled for Sunday at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium.

Chaotic scenes unfolded as ticket sales started on Thursday. Telangana sports minister V. Srinivas Goud summoned Hyderabad Cricket Association (HCA) president Mohammad Azharuddin and top officials for an explanation.

Azharuddin, the former India captain, told the media, “Conducting a match is not as easy as sitting in this room and discussing about it.”

Addressing a media conference, that was also attended by the Telangana sports minister, Azharuddin said a report on the ticket sales would be furnished.

“We have done nothing wrong. We are with the fans who were injured, and the HCA will take care of them completely. I will give a complete report on the sale of tickets, availability and other details to the minister and he will tell you what is correct and what is wrong,” he said.

“There are going to be problems. Yes, the public wants to see the match after a three-year gap. But, again, not all of them can do it. We will give all the details at the media briefing on Friday. We have nothing to hide. But, at the same time we have to make sure the game goes forward,” the HCA chief added.

He also answered a question on the role of the four-member supervisory committee formed by Supreme Court for the HCA last month. “The Supreme Court has not given any order restraining my powers,” he insisted in his reply.

The sports minister blamed the "lack of coordination between the state government and HCA" for the chaos.

"I assure you that the incidents will not be repeated,” said Goud. “Top police officials will inquire into the reasons leading to today’s incidents and will take necessary action, if needed. We had taken a decision to sell tickets offline late last evening and because of that there was a huge turnout, which led to the stampede.”

HCA secretary R. Vijayanand, who attended the meeting, said, “He (the sports minister)assured complete support from the state government with regard to the conduct of the match as the government feels it is a matter of great pride to host an international cricket match, especially after the pandemic.”

'One-Man Show'

Meanwhile, HCA vice-president K. John Manoj told Sportstar that only the president and the secretary along with a select few members are involved in the preparation for the match.

“Normally, the entire executive committee (earlier) or the apex council has to take a call before tying up with any vendor about the sale of tickets. Then, we inform the media giving details of the number of counters set up in four zones covering the entire twin cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad,” Manoj said.

“Unfortunately, this time it has not happened and it looks like no procedure has been followed. And nobody in the HCA seems to be aware of the exact schedule of sale of tickets before it suddenly appears in the media through a brief release,” he said.

“It is obvious that the HCA is now a one-man show with no respect for the members who have been serving the association for years now and are experienced in organising many international matches. All we hope is for the match to go on smoothly. Ater all, the association comes first and not individuals,” said Manoj.

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