Far too much strife in city cricket

If they are going to dig into their coffers to pay for the gold coins, they may be better off utilising the funds for the game in the city. For, going by recent reports and talk amongst the Mumbai cricket fraternity, the association is not overflowing with surplus money.

Doubtless, Tendulkar deserves to be honoured and rewarded, but a 100 gold coins borders on gross in these times.
One of the reasons for shutting down the indoor academy at the Bandra Kurla Complex was the cost factor, apart from the fact (or excuse, as some call it) that age-group teams have coaches attached to them and academy coaches would be superfluous. Lalchand Rajput, the caretaker of the academy ended up being on the receiving end of a showcause notice for talking to MiD DAY about no activity at the academy.

As the premier cricket association of the land, the MCA should be leading by example. Instead, we keep hearing about infighting, poor leadership and inefficiency. That 405 tickets went unsold for the 2011 World Cup could point to the last mentioned ill unless it is a case of sheer corruption.

Regardless of who is responsible, nothing can take away from the fact that there was a ticket controversy in Mumbai after both — the 1987 and 2011 — World Cups. It can be viewed as a slur on the association.

One learns that the matter with regards to tickets was deferred at the last managing committee meeting. Probably, it was less important than other issues like the sacking of Chandrakant Pandit as chief of the Cricket Improvement Committee (CIC). The MCA viewed his new role at Rajasthan Cricket Association as ‘conflict of interest.’ The former India wicketkeeper could be wondering what he did wrong because he ensured the CIC met more regularity than the past.

The term ‘conflict of interest.’ has become fashionable in a cricketing society that is filled with numerous such examples. Yet, it depends how one views it. If Pandit’s role at Rajasthan keeps him too preoccupied to pay attention to Mumbai cricket matters, then it is justified to relieve him as CIC chief. Else, the logic is weak. No man is perfect, but Pandit was a good guiding hand to have at a time when Mumbai have to reclaim their influence on domestic cricket.

Compare this scenario to India bowling coach Joe Dawes’ role as bowling coach of Kings XI Punjab and the eye brow gets raised higher. Is it correct to have a support staff of the Indian team associated to an IPL franchise? Some food for thought here.

By the way, Dawes must count himself fortunate to get an IPL coaching role one tournament after he finishes his debut series (Asia Cup) for India.

Back to Mumbai. Quite clearly, the amount of big-named cricketers associated with Mumbai cricket is dwindling. Sunil Gavaskar and Dilip Vengsarkar, two of three most internationally successful batsmen produced by Mumbai are not on any committee.

Both took great pride in wearing the lion-crested Mumbai cap and it’s a shame they are not part of the brains trust to guide city cricket. And wonder if Tendulkar is ever asked for his views.

Mumbai cricket needs some new faces too, but cricketers won’t be inclined to step into the ring unless they are convinced about being wanted for the right reasons.

Not all in the MCA are inefficient and uncaring. It is high time the shining lights make an appearance, go out on a limb to right the wrongs in the city’s best-loved game.¬†

Clayton Murzello is MiD DAY’s Group Sports Editor¬†

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