'We need to respect our players. Our players are as good as anybody.'
Harish Kotian/Rediff.com listens to Mohammad Azharuddin.
Former India captain and current Hyderabad Cricket Association President Mohammad Azharuddin is impressed with BCCI President Sourav Ganguly's style of functioning and wants him to continue for a long time at the helm of Indian cricket.
The Ganguly-led BCCI at its annual general meeting on Sunday, December 1, decided it would seek direction from the Supreme Court on making significant changes to its existing constitution which was adopted last year keeping in mind the reforms suggested by the Justice R M Lodha committee.
Among the main amendments which the board members want altered are the cooling-off period, not needing the Supreme Court's approval while amending the rules, handing more power to the secretary, and relaxation of the 70-year age cap clause for the officials representing the BCCI at International Cricket Council meetings.
Ganguly's current nine-month stint will get an extension if the dilution of the reform on tenure-cap or the cooling-off period break is approved the by the Supreme Court.
Asked if the BCCI members are in favour of Ganguly getting an extension, Azharuddin replied: "Nobody can decide on that, it is up to the Supreme Court. When the hearing happens, then we will come to know. I think definitely everyone wants him to continue for a long time."
Azharuddin, who was elected as the Hyderabad Cricket Association president earlier this year, said it would be good if more cricketers come into administration.
"Definitely, cricketers are welcome (into the administration), but it all depends on how interested the person is. In a honorary job, the thing is that when you do well, it gives you a lot of satisfaction," he said on the sidelines of the jersey launch for the Road Safety World Series Masters T20 tournament in Mumbai on Monday, December 2.
The Road Safety World Series is an annual T20 cricket tournament to be played between the legends of India, Australia, South Africa, West Indies and Sri Lanka in February will feature greats like Sachin Tendulkar, Brian Lara, Virender Sehwag, Muttiah Muralitharan and Jonty Rhodes among others.
Speaking about road safety, Azharuddin recalled how his son Ayazuddin lost his life in a road accident in 2011 and asked parents to make their children aware about road safety.
"My son met with an accident about eight years and he passed away. I know how difficult it is for parents to go through all that. You must inculcate good habits and teach children to create awareness (about road safety). These things are very important because you don't want your kids to lose their lives young," the former India skipper emphasised.
VIDEO: Hitesh Harisinghani/Rediff.com
At Sunday's AGM, Azharuddin proposed that every franchise in the Indian Premier League should have an Indian as head coach. The final decision on coaches, he agreed, rests with the IPL team owners, but he believed they should be looking at Indian coaches who are "as good as anybody".
"I know it is the franchise's prerogative. I respect that, but when you call it the Indian Premier League, former cricketers need to get benefited. The players from abroad are getting benefited and I have no problem with that. But we have to promote our coaches as well," he said.
"We need to respect our players. Our players are as good as anybody or even better than many. They should become head coaches. There is no dearth of coaches here. I have raised the matter with the governing council," the 56-year-old batsman, who played 99 Tests and 334 ODIs from 1985 to 2000, said.
Azharuddin is delighted with the response to the pink ball Test at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata and felt India should play pink ball Tests regularly, maybe one match in a series should be a day-night contest.
"I don't think they will have a full pink ball Test series," he conceded. "A one-off Test is good because we have good crowds. We have made a beginning and we need to continue."
Azharuddin's former team mate Sachin Tendulkar recently urged Ganguly to revamp the Duleep Trophy by bringing in the four Ranji Trophy semi-finalists along with two teams of the promising Under-19 and Under-23 players.
The latest Duleep trophy featured India Blue, India Green and India Red in a round-robin format.
Azharuddin, who captained India in 47 Tests and 174 ODIs, had a different take on how to reinvent the Duleep Trophy. He wants the BCCI to revert to the zonal format as in the past.
"We should get back the zonal thing -- North, East, West and South in the Duleep Trophy. It will make a lot of difference. A lot of people are on the verge of playing, but they are not selected. For example, there are two or three players from Hyderabad, they have scored 700, 800 runs, but they can't play in the Duleep Trophy," Azharuddin pointed out.
"If it is played in the zonal format, there will more chance for players. My suggestion is they should go back to the zones,"he asaid, adding, "I think even the players are not too keen on this current format."
"The rivalry is always there when you play a zonal format. We have all come up from that system. So we can go back and try that, there is nothing wrong in trying."