It has been a torrid week in Mumbai cricket with Prof Ratnakar Shetty, the association’s vice president quitting after losing to current interim president Ravi Savant. Shetty reversed his decision, but it was too late. The president’s post was vacant after the death of Vilasrao Deshmukh.
Thus, Shetty, who came into the inner ring of the MCA in the early 1990s, ended his long association. In a way, it was a special victory for Savant, who had lost to Shetty three years ago when he contested for the treasurer’s post. Savant did not hold back his reservations over Shetty being vice-president of the MCA and Chief Administrative Officer of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) at the same time. SUNDAY MiD DAY caught up with Savant to talk about the heat surrounding the country’s premier cricket association.
The exit of Prof Shetty has been bitter. Can you explain why?
There was one post (for president) vacant with two people in the fray. Someone had to lose. It could have been him if he had won, but I got elected. Going out of the MCA was his wish, as he did not want to continue. So, I cannot comment on his exit.
He reversed his decision, but why wasn’t it accepted?
He resigned from the post during the meeting (August 24) itself. It was noted and accepted. There is no question of resigning and then reversing your decision. The (managing) committee accepted it.
But can’t there be a second chance for such a seasoned administrator?
This association is perpetual. If one person is not there, it does not stop. There are people to look after that. It appears as if you are getting back at Prof Shetty since you lost the treasurer’s post to him three years ago… I don’t think that’s the case. He did get elected for the treasurer’s post, but qualification-wise people know what should have happened. I never asked him to resign. It was his decision. So, there is no question of getting back at him.
What is your vision for Mumbai cricket?
I always had a vision for the association, but had to work within my roles. Since I am in the president’s seat now, I can implement my ideas in a better way. Firstly, I would like to improve the internal administration of the MCA. Secondly, I have plans regarding restructuring of tournaments. I would like to see quality cricket being played rather than quantity. Lastly, we have a very old constitution. My effort will be to draw a constitution that has all the possible answers to situations we might face since the game has evolved. The time at my disposal is very less, and I would like to make the most of it.
How do you look to tackle several pending issues like the tax liabilities, 405 World Cup final tickets going unsold, etc?
I have already completed March 2011-12 accounts in July. Now, the accounts for the current year will be completed shortly. As and when we are done with the observations, we will give out details. Unless the accounts are done, we cannot address the same. I was not in the association during the World Cup, so I don’t know what exactly has happened. But if we find the auditor’s report also indicates that (405 World Cup final tickets went unsold), then we will surely take the necessary steps.
You recently indicated that the MCA would take tougher stance against the BCCI. What exactly you meant by that?
I did not say that MCA would take a tougher stand. I have been misquoted. The MCA is in talks with the BCCI bigwigs about getting proper representation in the Board. If anybody is working for the BCCI, it is because the headquarters are in Mumbai. But that doesn’t mean the MCA should suffer. We see the same people going on tours (as managers). The last time an MCA person was appointed (manager) was when I went to West Indies in 2006. We don’t need a raw deal from the BCCI. There are others working for the association and they should be given a chance.
Mumbai’s performance in the last season was mediocre. Have you set any specific objectives for this season?
Winning and losing is a part of the game. Mumbai has been a dominant force over the years in domestic cricket and everybody wants that time to come back. My message to the players is that any indiscipline will not be tolerated irrespective of your performance. You are representing the Mumbai team and that has to be respected. Their focus has to be on the game all the times.