More tears, less cheers

More tears, less cheers

More Tears, Less Cheers. The team’s Ranji season opener against Andhra gave ample indications of the things that were in store in the year.

The most notable aspects of Hyderabad cricket this year have been the change of guard at Hyderabad Cricket Association (HCA), the Association’s refusal to conduct crucial league matches of the Champions Trophy citing security concerns, second successive near-dubious Ranji season, the emergence of C V Milind onto the national league, the birth and almost impressive debut by Sunrisers Hyderabad in the sixth edition of Indian Premier League (IPL), retired batsman V V S Laxman following in the footsteps of several predecessors into the commentary box, the formation of Federation of Cricket Academies (FCA) by former cricketers and the controversial exit of three members from the women selection panel.

The team’s Ranji season opener against Andhra gave ample indications of the things that were in store in the year. The match petered into a tame draw despite the fact that Hyderabad was in a commanding position. It was a similar story against Assam. The bowlers had a tough outing on the green Guwahati surface as they were smashed all over while Assam posted a massive 501 in the first innings. T L Suman and B P Sandeep gave a semblance of order while notching up a century each.

The verdict was ditto against Maharashtra with the blame squarely placed on the inept bowling resources. Victory eventually came when they humbled Himachal Pradesh by an impressive 185 runs victory. Unfortunately, the team failed to maintain the momentum as the next two matches have been disasters for varying factors.
The spineless attack got thrashed by the lowly Tripura, whose batsmen clobbered the bowlers all over the stadium. The most shameful aspect was that Hyderabad, a distinctly stronger team on paper comparatively speaking, was laid low by two batsmen with one becoming just the second to score a double century in Tripura’s Ranji history. And Hyderabad was playing on home soil! The draw against Goa has put paid to Hyderabad’s chances of making the quarterfinals, which thereby implies that the two-time titlist will be in the Plate Division for at least another season.
The only bright spot has been the rise of left-arm pacer CV Milind. He was called upon to do a duty that many young cricketers just dream of all their lives. Yes, it was time for him to sport the U-19 India jersey. One hopes that he will get into national reckoning in the not too distant future, particularly considering the present situation where the pace department has been the chink in Team India’s armour.
In contrast, G Hanuma Vihari has failed to live up to his early promise as he has been inconsistent as far as big innings go. Pragyan Ojha has been the mainstay of the Indian team as the spin twin of R Ashwin in the longer format although he had to wait all these years to make a debut on pitches away from the sub-continent.
Although, no great shakes as an orator, Laxman has enjoyed a reasonably noteworthy second innings while commentating in Hindi! If anything Sunrisers have impressed with its showing in spite of not actually making it to the championship clash. The redeeming feature is that the prospects right to the semifinal stage came courtesy of city players like Ashish Reddy, Akshath Reddy and to an extent Vihari.
Hyderabad did not achieve anything spectacular in the middle. It is time for some serious soul-searching to make a positive beginning in the coming year.
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