Hyderabad Cricket Association: Junior selection panel member cries foul

Vivek Jaisimha writes to BCCI ethics officer; corruption and disregard for rules in the selection of age-group squads has been claimed.

Mohammed Azharuddin (front, left) was elected president of the Hyderabad Cricket Association in September, 2019.   -  PTI

All is not well in the Hyderabad Cricket Association even after former India captain Mohammed Azharuddin took over as president after the recent elections.

For, close on the heels of Ambati Rayudu’s comments on alleged corruption and biased selection of teams, it was the turn of another former Hyderabad Ranji cricketer and now member of the State junior selection committee (appointed at the last AGM) to point out flaws in the whole system.

“I would like to bring to your notice the utter disregard and non-compliance with the teams we are selecting as per the laid out rules and responsibilities. Although we are supposed to select the teams, coaches, support staff, stand byes and probables with the chairman convening, we are burdened with the secretary, who insists on interfering, questioning, and blackmailing us in our meetings with names of players to add in the teams who don’t deserve being there,” Vivek Jaisimha wrote in a mail sent to the BCCI ethics officer and the secretary of Indian Cricketers Association on Friday.

“In an earlier instance the coach and support staff selected by us for the U-19 was replaced by the HCA overnight six hours before the team left, leading to embarrassment for all concerned. An unqualified coach (as per rules for coaches) was appointed and sent. This was done in my opinion to control and add in the XI the candidate players being pushed into the side by adding a 16th man and playing him in the 11 which again is against the norm,” he explained.

‘Intimidating behaviour’

“Since our first meeting in October when the Under-16 team was selected, we have been facing this stressful and intimidating behaviour along with many rumoured instances of money changing hands,” Vivek said.

“The selection for the age groups Under-16, 19 and 23 years so far has been fraught with stress, arguments, blackmailing tactics and every means of intimidation, by the president (Azhar) and secretary (R. Vijayanand) and that for doing a job entrusted to us. An extremely untenable situation,” he said.

“In one instance during the Under-23 match at Uttarakhand, a player we selected in the 15 was replaced by another player Firazuddin who was a beginner without us knowing and obviously failed,” Vivek revealed.

“It is rumoured and an open secret in Hyderabad that this boy is 17 years [old] and his father paid [₹]18 lakhs to play in the Under-23 tournament. A terrible example for the rest of the squad and Hyderabad cricket, strengthening their perception that the easiest way to get in is to pay these brokers,” he alleged.

‘Unacceptable nexus’

“In the prevailing scenario, I would like to bring to your notice the unacceptable nexus between club secretaries, camps, administration, selectors, coaches, support staff and the players themselves that is continuing from last year,” Vivek commented.

“This is direct abuse, where cash is being taken to put players into the probables, the 15, and the playing 11. It is a further shame that even the top cricketers in their age group who are surely in the 11 are being targeted even while they play and perform,” the former Hyderabad cricketer and son of the great late M. L. Jaisimha, said.

“In the previous year, 38 players represented Under-16, around 30 Under-19 and as many in Under-23 grade. Although reduced to a vast level the modus operandi has not changed from the last season and the same enlightened gentleman who was responsible for this sad state of affairs in junior cricket is still trading and calling the shots via various people in the system,” Vivek lamented.

“The whole cricketing fraternity is aware of this and those who want to get their wards in approach him to arrange entry into various groups paying ridiculous amounts of money,” he pointed out.

Vivek Jaisimha (in picture) alleges an "unacceptable nexus between club secretaries, camps, administration, selectors, coaches, support staff and the players themselves." Photo: Special Arrangement

 

“It is my earnest request to you to investigate the state of affairs in Hyderabad cricket with regard to the selection process, seniors and juniors thoroughly including all selectors, support staff, conflict of interest cases, etc. , me included, so the people responsible for this crime are held accountable and some hope remains for the future of Hyderabad cricketers,” Vivek felt.

‘Helpless’

“In the latest instance of interference and abuse of power the team selected by us for the third Under-19 match (which commenced today) was ignored and the earlier team carried on as the selection committee made genuine cricketing changes and refused to adjust and toe their line,” the former stylish batsman said.

“I am compelled to write to you as I feel utterly helpless along with a couple of fellow selectors, and have no clue how to deal with this scenario. Further do we have any line of recourse to sort the situation,” he said.

Read | Azharuddin: Aim is to give the players a new direction

“This is just an outline of the woes which are many more and if any further inputs and logistics are required I am willing to help,” Vivek concluded.

‘Blackmailing tactics’

For his part, J. Shivaji Yadav, another member of the HCA Junior State selection panel, also says that the selection committee meetings are being convened by the secretary which as per the constitution should be done by either the joint-secretary or the chairman of the selection panel.“The secretary is using blackmailing tactics to accommodate some of the undeserving players like sending one player as the 16th member of the Under-23 squad which is against the guidelines,” Shivaji said.

“The support staff picked by us are ignored. And worse, the Under-19 team picked was not announced and the secretary sent his own team for the third match (which began today),” he said.

“I may be sacked for pointing out these facts. But, I am not concerned, I am only worried about how to curtail these wrong-doings in the association,” Shivaji concluded.

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