Video - Arshad Ayub: No dearth of talent but process needs to improve for Hyderabad to win Ranji Trophy again

The former Indian cricketer also praised Hyderabad star Tilak Varma, emphasizing his ability to play all three formats.

Published : Aug 31, 2023 12:10 IST , HYDERABAD - 4 MINS READ

Former Indian cricketer Arshad Ayub emphasised the importance of a proper process for Hyderabad cricket to reclaim the Ranji Trophy, last won in 1987.

Hyderabad, led by M. V. Narasimha Rao, shocked a fancied Delhi side 36 years ago to win the Ranji Trophy on first-innings lead.

“A lot of players have played for Hyderabad from ML Jaisimha, Syed Abid Ali, and after that, we came in including V. Raju, Shivlal Yadav and the glory was because of the process. We had the process right from the beginning, and we were playing 25-30 matches before playing the Ranji Trophy. I don’t remember a year where we haven’t scored five to six hundreds and haven’t taken 100 wickets before the Ranji. But today, the process has changed. The 1987 Ranji Trophy win was the only win for Hyderabad post-Independence, and the victory was so sweet. A lot of times we have made it to the Ranji Trophy semifinals but have not been able to win it. Though there is enough talent, the process needs improvement,” Arshad said during a panel discussion titled ‘Cricket at Crossroads’..

A hero’s welcome: Arshad Ayub is chaired by admirers at the Secunderabad Railway Station on March 29, 1987.
A hero’s welcome: Arshad Ayub is chaired by admirers at the Secunderabad Railway Station on March 29, 1987. | Photo Credit:  THE HINDU ARCHIVES

A hero’s welcome: Arshad Ayub is chaired by admirers at the Secunderabad Railway Station on March 29, 1987. | Photo Credit:  THE HINDU ARCHIVES

Creating a system

Former Hyderabad Ranji Trophy player Vijay Mohan Raj agreed with Ayub and emphasized the need for Hyderabad to identify and fix their weaknesses to return to winning form.

“I was born and brought up in Mumbai and in those days the way Bombay played cricket was different from others. I agree with Arshad and the process has to be right. If the process was right we could have won the Ranji many more times. In 1987, the administration was at its worst, but due to the tenacity of the players we won the trophy. Hyderabad has produced fine cricketers, and there were seven Test players from Hyderabad in a match against Bombay that included Mansoor Ai Khan Pataudi. We had VVS Laxman then coming up, but statistically, we don’t have a system that produced players consistently. I think 1987 was when we were at a crossroads, and we should have learned and won many more Ranji Trophy titles. We need to introspect, especially the players who have played and have the cricketing acumen should come together and create a system. We will come good in the next two to three years, and I am positive about it,” Vijay Mohan said.

Tapping into vast talent

Efforts are underway to ensure the state team transitions smoothly and produces the desired results, according to P. Hari Mohan, Chairman of the HCA Selection Committee and former Hyderabad cricketer.

“There was a players’ panel back then where a lot of senior cricketers wanted to prove a point, and you realise there was a purpose. The process is about getting the right leadership, and the moment everyone is accountable, everything falls into place. Currently, the fixing of the process is ongoing. We have a large pool of players that has not been thoroughly assessed yet. With the addition of several district teams, we aim to explore more opportunities to identify talent. Our goal is to be fair to all players, but we also believe that performance is key. It might not be an easy road but we are committed to finding and nurturing the best talent.

Ayub on Tilak Varma

Arshad Ayub: “Tilak Varma is a great talent. I have observed that he has adeptly adapted to T20 and played the IPL with great finesse. He plays with a clear purpose and has displayed remarkable mental maturity. He has an exceptional talent and a promising long career ahead of him. What’s more, he has the potential to play all three formats of the game. His cricketing intelligence is impressive and he approaches the game with a thoughtful strategy to score runs.”

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