Hyderabad: With the Hyderabad Cricket Association poised to slip into election mode, rival body Cricket Association of Telangana has raised the raw deal given to districts by the BCCI-affiliated body.
CAT, which primarily deals with the game in rural areas, complains that the game has been severely neglected in the districts over the years. “The HCA caters to players only from the twin cities and the adjoining Ranga Reddy district. Barring a couple, no player from the other districts has ever played for the Hyderabad team which represents Telangana State,” CAT founder-secretary Sunil Babu Kolanpaka rued.
“There are 211 clubs in Hyderabad, none in districts. The authorities should allot clubs to the other 32 districts too, as per population. That would mean at least 100 clubs in each district, all of which should have voting rights,” Sunil stressed.
“They should at least have a reasonable and proportionate representation of players from the districts in the squads as well as playing XIs of State teams. Officials say the teams will fare badly if that happens, but what are they winning now? Even otherwise, it will be a good learning curve and will boost the game in interior areas of the State,” Sunil says, quoting the example of Andhra, which has grown strongly since its days as a minnow, courtesy exposure provided to players.
Sunil alleges nothing has been done to uplift players in Hyderabad as well. “In fact money is flowing in the cricket league. A player has to pay Rs 30,000 as club fee to be on the team. Then there are separate charges for batting positions and bowling roles. Clubs are being leased out to middlemen for a price, it has become a business. And secretaries of these clubs get annual grants from the HCA as development fund. It’s a joke,” he said, adding, “they should be disqualified from the Association.”
This issue needs to be addressed urgently, Sunil says “or let HCA handle Hyderabad and hand over the running of rural cricket to us. We have been conducting tournaments at the junior level in the districts for nine years now.”
Sunil gradually raises the political pitch. “Telangana State itself was carved out on the basis of injustice meted out to locals when it came to providing opportunities. Unfortunately, the imbalance now is between Hyderabad City and the districts. All committees should be headed by people of Telangana origin to ensure justice for rural cricketers,” he said.
A simmering Sunil signed off with a seething sentence: “We want these points to be finalised at the HCA’s Annual General Meeting scheduled on Sunday, or we will force the government to step in with an all-districts agitation.”
Cricket doesn’t seem like a gentleman’s game anymore.