Thirty years ago, the late Rajsingh Dungarpur as the Chairman of Selectors asked a young Mohammed Azharuddin, “Mian, kaptaan banoge?”
The query left Azhar flummoxed, as it did the cricketing ecosystem in India.
In 2019, there was no Dungarpur. Azhar had to work his way through the cesspool of Hyderabad Cricket Association politics to return as captain. On Friday, the former India skipper won the election to the President’s post, polling 148 votes as against 72 votes for his rival Prakash Chand Jain.
Azhar would reckon he has got the chair two and a half years later. In January 2017, he was not allowed to contest the HCA elections on technical grounds. This time, he ensured he had the support of all prominent cricketers as well as the right political backing.
Now that he is elected, Azhar’s task is cut out. Hyderabad has no player in the national team now in any format of the game. Even in the Sunrisers Hyderabad side, it is not Hyderabad talent that drives the IPL team. Azhar needs to focus on building the gen-next of Hyderabad cricket on priority basis, re-energise cricket in the Telangana districts, help unearth talent. Azhar has the gravitas to be the Imran Khan of Hyderabad and Telangana cricket but for that he will have to travel, watch games and interact with the boys. He will need to play with the boys and boost the morale of the coaching staff.
Azhar is a product of Hyderabad cricket and its system with all its faults. No one better than him to understand the nuts and bolts of the cricketing structure in the city. He deserves a chance to play a second innings for Hyderabad cricket, once again as its `captain’ and flick away all its troubles, like only he can.