HCA row: Manoj insists players will not suffer; Azhar says what is being done is illegal

Abhijit Sen Gupta
Abhijit Sen Gupta

Hyderabad: The Vice President of the Hyderabad Cricket Association, John Manoj, who was yesterday named as interim President of the HCA by the Apex Council, has assured that whatever may be the hurdles that the association is facing, it will see to it that cricket does not get bogged down and the players do not suffer.

Speaking to siasat.com Manoj outlined his immediate plans to pick up the threads and resume cricket activity in the coming season. “Regardless of everything that has been happening, we will do our work. The task of going ahead with the sport and conducting the regular tournaments are going on as per plans. There will be no disruption,” he said.

Asked about the claim of Mohammed Azharuddin that his appointment as interim President was illegal, John Manoj said that it was completely according to the rules.

“Azharuddin claims that everything that we are doing is illegal. But it is he who has not abided by the rules from the very beginning. At the last AGM he just walked away after announcing the name of the Ombudsman leaving the meeting half finished. On that occasion, as Vice President, I had to chair the meeting in his absence, complete the remaining matters on the agenda and finally bring it to a close. He has not been discharging his duties as President. So who will do it? Someone must do the job,” said Manoj.

“So the members of the Apex Council decided to make me the interim President since they had suspended Azharuddin pending an enquiry. But the work of the HCA cannot stop because the President has been suspended. The work must go on. We cannot sit idle and neglect cricket in the State. So, with this objective in mind, I have taken charge on Friday and we are working to implement plans to promote cricket activity,” he explained.

When asked what are the immediate plans? Manoj said: “The league tournaments will begin from June 30. We will start with the three-day matches first. Then in the first week of July, we will begin the two-day matches. Subsequently the one-dayers will also get underway. Everything is going as per the plan. I would like to assure all the players and all affiliated clubs that we are working to ensure smooth functioning of all cricket activities,” he pointed out.

“Also we are going to insist that all players who are going to take part in the league tournaments should first get themselves vaccinated. Otherwise they will not be allowed to take part in the matches. They must show proof that they have taken the vaccinations. This is of utmost importance and we must stick to it considering the dangerous coronavirus situation all over the country. There will be no leniency shown to anybody on this point,” he said.

“As for the preparations for the Ranji Trophy season, we are going ahead full steam on that matter too. We have earmarked two grounds namely the Uppal Stadium and the Gymkhana Ground in Secunderabad to prepare the state teams at all levels. Nothing will be left to chance and I am hopeful that our results of this season will be much better,” said John Manoj.

However Azharuddin was quick to react to the move of the Apex Council. “You (John Manoj) are no interim President. I once again reiterate and wish to put John Manoj and all concerned on notice that these meetings are illegal and in violation of the HCA Rules and Regulations 2018, that govern the functioning of the Apex Council. You are requested to desist from performing any actions that are in violation of the HCA rules,” Azhar stated in a letter on Friday.

Abhijit Sen Gupta is a seasoned journalist who writes on Sports and various other subjects.