Hyderabad: Former India captain Mohammed Azharuddin filed his nomination papers for Hyderabad Cricket Association's president's post on Tuesday, after incumbent Arshad Ayub quit office following the Supreme Court verdict on the Justice Rajendra Mal Lodda committee reforms.
One of the longest serving Indian captain with the distinction of leading India in three successive World Cups (1992, 1996, 1999), Azharuddin was banned for life by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) for his alleged involvement in the match-fixing scandal that was unearthed in 2000.
"The problem with Hyderabad is that cricket is not the focus. We were second last in Ranji Trophy last year. My intention is to see Hyderabad cricket flourish... We cannot run the HCA on the whims and fancies of individuals," Azharuddin said.
"I want to improve cricket at the district level because lot of hardworking players come from districts. We have produced so many great players, but now we don't have players in the Indian team. My intention is to work hard for the game of cricket," he added.
Azharuddin blamed the current HCA administration for the problems plaguing Hyderabad cricket. "I have heard stories of nepotism and corruption in selection. In the under-14, six new players are added to the team after every match. This is shocking," he said.
Azharuddin fought a long legal battle and got a favourable order in Andhra High Court back in 2011, but the BCCI never officially lifted the ban. He never got the pension that former India players are entitled to.
In fact, the BCCI wrote a strongly-worded letter to DDCA during the last Ranji Trophy season, when Azharuddin was spotted sitting outside the boundary line chatting with Vidarbha players, which was noted by the match referee.
"Yes, I was informed that Azhar came with his supporters to file nomination for HCA elections. He had an order from a lower court which allows him to contest the election.
"Normally, HCA elections are held on the last Sunday of May, but Azhar has got an order which says it would be held on January 17," HCA secretary John Manoj said.
One of the finest batsmen of his time, Azharuddin was also an MP from Moradabad during UPA II regime, but lost the elections in 2014. He had, a few years back, shown interest in joining the Badminton Association of India as an administrator, but later pulled out.