Hyderabad: The Hyderabad team heaved a sigh of relief when they got the nod to play in the Vijay Hazare one-day tournament that gets underway in three cities from Wednesday.
After four days of suspense, the High Court appointed Justice Anil Dave’s Committee of Administrators (CoA) sent the letter of approval to the Hyderabad Cricket Association (HCA), who in turn, sent Justice Dave’s mail to Saba Karim, General Manager (cricket operations) on Tuesday morning.
This paper had reported that the Hyderabad team would get the green signal on Tuesday and the team will participate in the one-day tournament. The Akshath Reddy-led team left for New Delhi late in the evening. The Hyderabad team is placed in Group B along with Madhya Pradesh, Delhi, Saurashtra, Andhra, Uttar Pradesh, Chattisgarh, Kerala and Odisha. They play the first match against Madhya Pradesh at Palam Grounds on Wednesday. Narsing Rao will be the manager of the team.
The three-member CoA team of Justice Dave (retd), Justice GV Seethapathy (retd) and Ratnakar Shetty need to be appreciated for clearing the team even though there was some technical problem as the team was picked by the Steering Committee-appointed selectors. The CoA was in dilemma over the rule book. The selectors were picked before the High Court judgement and it did not have the approval of annual general body meeting. Keeping the players’ future in mind, the CoA took this brave decision to allow the Hyderabad team to participate in the tournament.
There was frenetic activity in the morning. A few players had a final session in the morning at Uppal Stadium and by the time they finished the nets session, they got the news they would after all participate in the Vijay Hazare tournament which is of special significance this year because of the 2019 World Cup that is few months away.
Thanks to the bitter feud between the Apex Council members which finally led to the intervention of the High Court in appointing CoA, this could be the worst-ever preparations for the Hyderabad team to any new season. Even as other teams reached their respective venues two or three days in advance, Hyderabad will reach Delhi late in the night and straightaway play their first match against MP on Wednesday morning at 9 am.
Arjun Yadav, the newly appointed senior coach by the steering committee of Mohammad Azharuddin and VVS Laxman, expressed his happiness that Hyderabad will finally get to play in the tournament. “It has come as a big relief. The players are ready for the challenge,” he said.
Yadav said the players have to be mentally strong. “We have been having practice sessions in the past few days and we are confident of performing well in the tournament. The boys were focusing on the game and they are happy that they will get the opportunity to play in the one-day tournament.”
The coach added that skipper Ambati Rayudu, who is away in Dubai doing India duty in the on-going Asia Cup, will join the team from the fifth match. Akshath Reddy will lead the team in his absence. “The team is exuding confidence and we are a strong unit. We had a good outing last season and qualified to the knock out rounds. We want to better that performance. The boys have the ability to come good in big matches.”
Yadav said the team has one of the best fast bowling attack of the country in Mohammad Siraj, M Ravi Kiran, CV Milind (left-arm seamer) and Ravi Teja. “They have the ability to the put the opponents on the back foot and give the early breakthrough. In-form Siraj is bowling very well. It could be a good comeback for Milind.”
The coach said although the team will miss Rayudu, other batsmen can stand up to the challenge. “Akshath is a capable leader and batsman. Rohit Rayudu, Tanmay Agarwal, B Sandeep are in good shape. The team is raring to go.”