HYDERABAD: No more tickets.
In just three words, Hyderabad Cricket Association president and former India cricket captain Md Azharuddin dashed any last-minute hopes people had for buying tickets for the India-Australia T 20 cricket match to be held in the city on September 25.
A somewhat combative Azharuddin declared that “we have not done anything wrong,” answering a slew of questions from reporters on what went wrong at the Gymkhana Grounds on Thursday, and the entire sale of the tickets issue.
As he answered questions, and in the process invoked ‘Telangana pride’ in the entire episode, Minister for Sports V Srinivas Goud watched.
The venue was the Minister’s office where he reviewed Thursday’s incidents with HCA office bearers, and senior police officials.
When reporters repeatedly asked the question if ticket sales would resume on Friday, Azharuddin said “ticket sale is over. No more tickets. Tomorrow no more tickets.”
Azharuddin said the current fight within HCA office-bearers had nothing to do with what happened on Thursday. “We are playing after three years. We have a three crore population. We have not done anything wrong. We will give a report to the Minister, he will say what is wrong and right.”
Responding to another question, the former India cricket captain said “what has happened today is very unfortunate. We are looking after them (those injured in the stampede). People want to watch the game, sometimes they cannot, there are only so many who can watch.
We are trying our best.”
He further said, “we are holding a match. It is not easy to hold a match, if I have to score a hundred, I have to go to the ground. There are going to be problems here and there.”
Faced with the barrage of questions, Azharuddin then attempted to invoke pride in Telangana, Azharuddin said: “You are talking negative, negative. We are getting a match after so many years. Everybody should be happy. We are Telangana, we will definitely correct any mistakes. The Minister advised us, we will take the advice and do what we should. We have to conduct the match and make sure the game goes forward. The name of state is higher, the state is always no 1, the state will remain, I might be there or not.”
In a similar vein, he then said “the name of HCA should be held high, the Association is bigger than individuals, people will come and go.”
When more questions were asked about how things went wrong, the HCA president responded saying “you also want Telangana to prosper, don’t you want it to?”
Asked if the police were informed in advance about the ticket sale plan for Thursday, Azharuddin said “I am 59 years old. I am not 10 years old. I know what the rules are, we informed the police in writing.”