Former India captain Mohammad Azharuddin is pleased that the cynics have been silenced with regard to his eligibility to contest the Hyderabad Cricket Association (HCA) elections.

He is included in the voters list under the category of former international cricketers.

“Well, personally, I never had any doubt about me being eligible to contest or not. It is only the vested interests keen to keep out of the fray who spread all sorts of rumours. I would have been glad if these people had shown any letter from the BCCI suggesting that I should not be allowed to contest the elections,” Azharuddin told Sportstar a day after the election schedule was announced by the HCA Electoral Officer V.S. Sampath.

“I will file the nomination for the post of president on September 17. The response has been very good to my interest in the job and I hope to bring the kind of change which the association badly needs. I am in touch with all like minded members of the HCA and confident of getting elected,” he said.

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Azharuddin is also hopeful that the elections will be held in free and fair manner.

“Mr Sampath is an officer of great integrity and knows how to conduct elections. I am sure the farce which had happened in the last elections (January 2017 when Azharuddin’s nominaton for the president’s post was rejected) will not be repeated,” he said.

“Let me also make it clear that the secretaries of HCA-affiliated clubs and institutions play a big role in the coming elections. I don’t want them to be confined to only voting process and then leave the scene for the others. They should be involved in the administration by giving their views on cricket related matters,” Azharuddin added.

“Honestly, everyone connected with the game including umpires who are forced to travel long distances to officiate in league matches have to be involved in the administration by taking their inputs,” he said.

On why he is keen to enter the HCA, the former India elegant batsman felt the imperative need is to run the organisation like an organisation, not like a fiefdom. “Unfortunately, cricket has taken a backseat in the last four years. We need to put in great efforts to revive the past glory,” he asserted.

“I played the game at the highest level and I know what a player needs to make it to the next grade and I will not be found wanting in my commitment and sincerity,” he concluded.