Mohammad Azharuddin’s cricketing life came full circle on Friday when the former India captain, who was indicted for match-fixing and banned forever from playing, was elected as president of the Hyderabad Cricket Association (HCA). Azhar polled 173 votes while his opponent Prakash Chand Jain got 73 votes. His entire panel won their respective contests. The victory marks his official entry into cricket administration two years after his nomination was rejected on technical grounds. He vowed to work for the welfare of his association.
“If there is progress in cricket, there will be progress in association. If association is healthy, every person will be happy. The association had not been healthy for the last three. Now, it is all clear and we will move ahead,” Azharuddin said.
The 56-year-old, who has also served as a Congress MP from Moradabad in Uttar Pradesh, led India to a spate of Test series wins over England, Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe at home in the 1990s. A stylish batsman, famous for his wrist wizardry, Azhar fell from grace after he was implicated in the 2000 match-fixing scandal that shook the core of Indian cricket. However, the Andhra High Court had ruled that the investigation against him was not conducted properly. He praised former Chief Election Commissioner V S Sampath, who oversaw the HCA polls.
“When election is fair, my nomination could not have been rejected (two years ago), but (now) fair election happened. Sampath sir followed clear-cut rules and regulations. That’s why a proper election happened. No problem occurred in the election and I am very happy and thankful to members and secretaries (of districts), they elected and made me HCA president,” Azharuddin said.
Azharuddin, who appeared in 99 Tests and 334 ODIs, filed his nomination for the president’s post in the HCA last week.
Anurag Thakur’s brother elected HPCA boss
Meanwhile in Dharamsala, Arun Dhumal, younger brother of former BCCI president and current MoS (finance) Anurag Thakur was elected president of the Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association (HPCA) unopposed, during its Annual General Meeting (AGM) on Friday. Una district’s Sumit Sharma is the new secretary of HPCA as there was no opposition against the Dhumal-led panel. The AGM happened on expected lines and former Himachal CM Prem Kumar Dhumal’s younger son could be a strong contender for a plum post in the BCCI — either as an office bearer or as a member of the all-important Apex Council during BCCI AGM on October 23. However for that, he will have to relinquish his state body’s position.
Odisha: Father votes from jail, son becomes secretary
In Cuttack, Sanjay Behera was on Friday elected the secretary of Odisha Cricket Association (OCA) while his father, arrested sports administrator, Ashirbad voted from jail. However the election can turn “null and void” as any charge-sheeted person cannot take part in the poll process. In a direct contest for the coveted secretary’s post of the OCA, Sanjay defeated another veteran sports administrator Naba Ranjan Patnaik by 20 votes.
Interestingly the former secretary of OCA, Ashirbad, who was arrested by CBI last week following a supplementary chargesheet against him for his alleged links with ponzi firm Artha Tatwa Group of Companies, voted through postal ballot. Ashirbad, who is above 70 years of age, has served the OCA for a cumulative period of over nine years, had to step down in February 2017 to fall in line with the Lodha Committee recommendations.
He had allegedly received one crore from AT Group under the garb of sponsoring Odisha Ranji team and title sponsorship for Odisha Premier League in 2011. For the post of OCA President, Pankaj Lochan Mohanty of Boudh district defeated former OCA treasurer Pradeep Chouhan by six votes.
Revival group emerges as dominant force in Baroda
In Vadodara, the Revival group bagged three of the five key posts in the elections for the Baroda Cricket Association (BCA) held on Friday. Pranav Amin from the Revival group went on to win the President’s post with a margin of over 90 per cent votes, while Sheetal Mehta from the same group bagged the Vice President’s post and Ajit Patel secured the Treasurer’s post. Meanwhile from the Royal group, Ajit Lele went on to win the post of the secretary and the Parag Patel secured the post of the joint secretary. A total of 1488 votes were cast.
The Royal Group headed by Samarjitsinh Gaekwad had fielded Jatin Vakil, a managing committee member and an advocate as its presidential candidate while the opposition group, the Revival Group headed by industrialist Chirayu Amit had fielded Pranav Amin for the President’s post. The last election in BCA was held in 2013, when royal scion Gaekwad had won the president’s post but candidates from the Revival group had managed to bag the majority other posts in the managing committee. However, in 2016 Gaekwad was sacked from the president’s post during an AGM.
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