Former India captain Mohd Azharuddin appears to be a clear front-runner for the post of the president of Hyderabad Cricket Association (HCA) in the elections to be held on September 27.
This was after the confusion over whether those who have held the post of executive committee member are also treated on par with those who have been office-bearers and declared ineligible to contest if they have held any post for a period of nine years, was cleared by the Electoral Officer and former Chief Election Commissioner V.S. Sampath on Thursday.
The clarity by the top official effectively meant that many prospective candidates, including former Secretaries Seshadri Venkateshwaran and K. John Manoj (contenders for Secretary’s post in the coming elections) are now out of the fray. Former Test cricketers and office-bearers of HCA N. Shivlal Yadav and Arshad Ayub were out of the contest long ago as they have completed nine years as office-bearers in the HCA and the BCCI. Given the present scenario, only if former HCA president G. Vivekanand enters the fray for the post of president, then Azhar would have some sort of a contest. “After all, you have to respect Azhar’s cricketing career as a former India captain and I do not see any one else challenging his stature to contest in the elections,” says John Manoj in a chat with The Hindu.
“We are going to support Azhar come what may,” he insists, gently reminding that the former cricketer has the backing of a majority of the bigwigs from different groups too. Meanwhile, it is learnt that the front-runners who were expected to be in the fray for the elections are now likely to push the case of their second-rung leadership. Mr. Sampath has cleared so many contentious issues with regard to the conduct of HCA elections that in a way he has set a benchmark for years to come for smooth, free and fair elections.