All praise to my good friends and old team mates, Hyderabad Ranji Trophy batsman Vivek Jaisimha and Test player Venkatapathy Raju, the batting coach and the coach of the Hyderabad Ranji team, which had the recent ignominy of being packed out for 21 against Rajasthan, for resigning from their jobs. It has been a long time since I have seen anyone resign from their job, owning moral responsibility for bad performance of a team that was compromised by faulty selection from the very beginning.
Bad and biased selection policies have always plagued Hyderabad cricket and the malaise had sunk in so deep that all Hyderabad teams had players being rotated to accommodate as many players as can be played. Performances were never the criterion as selectors threw all discretion, professional pride and ethics to the winds, and selected players as dictated by the powers that be. Most times they bartered on whom to play and whom to drop and most good players became fall guys in these power games. All selectors, coaches, managers, all plum jobs that paid, were at the mercy of the powers that be, so whoever has been in these positions and abused them, have done severe injustice to their jobs, to what was expected from them.
It pained one no end to see a whole lot of cricketers, most who played at the highest level, and who know the pain of suffering unjust selection policies, contribute to the same. Shivlal Yadav, Arshad Ayub, Venkatapathy Raju have played at the highest level, while Azeem, M.V.Sridhar, N.P. Singh are some other names that come to mind. The bone of contention for several years now has been the unprecedented favor and lenience shown towards Arjun Yadav, son of Shivlal Yadav, who has been persisted with despite a mediocre performance in over 70 odd Ranji matches. His elevation as captain raised several eyebrows - yet he was persisted with for a long time. Players like Rayudu and Suman who have shown their mettle in no uncertain terms when handled right against far superior oppositions, have almost given up the game, thrown into cricketing wilderness by the same management. And so many more would have probably given up even before they started. Today, the team is at the bottom of the table, a bunch of confused cricketers who only seem to thrive from match to match, for personal glory and an extension of their career by any means.
In the light of this, the resignations of two well known cricketers and trained coaches, owning responsibility for the poor performance comes as a nice surprise. More so since the selection was the same old controversial team all over again. Deserving youngsters were kept far away and the same old failures persisted with. Actually, the selectors should have resigned!
It would not have been noticed if the coaches had continued - it would have been written off as one off bad match as the President Arshad Ayub explained - and they would have kept their jobs and received good remuneration for it. But they did, with an express purpose of bringing the muck out of the cupboard and into the open and I truly congratulate them, Vivek especially for his articulate interviews which lay bare the system, and Venkat for supporting him thoroughly. I was fortunate to have played with these two fine players, during that historic campaign of Hyderabad in 1986-87 when we won the Ranji Trophy beating a star studded Delhi - undoubtedly Hyderabad's finest hour to date. I played two games in that season, Venkat played most save the finals, Vivek played all games and scored heavily as well. It is distressing to see at least three other players who had stellar roles to play in that campaign not batting for the cause of Hyderabad cricket now - Shivlal Yadav, Arshad Ayub and Abdul Azeem who is now the Chairman of selectors.
Vicky and Lachi, this is probably an even more significant contribution you have made for Hyderabad cricket, and none less heroic than any of your exploits on the field. I applaud and support you and I hope that your cry for instant reforms in the system is heeded immediately. The entire system must be transparent, people with integrity and knowledge must be handed the right jobs and youngsters must be left alone to focus on what they are meant to, cricket. Only then, will there be any hope for Hyderabad cricket.