Just when the last few votes were set to be cast, Sharad Pawar with his panel members emerged out of the voting area with a broad smile, displaying the 'victory' sign. Pawar had sensed the voters' confidence in him and was proved right as he beat Dr Vijay Patil by 34 votes to retain his chair as the Mumbai Cricket Association's chief yesterday.

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A file picture of the Wankhede Stadium. Inset: Sharad Pawar
A file picture of the Wankhede Stadium. Inset: Sharad Pawar

Pawar garnered 176 votes while Patil managed to get 142. The Cricket First group headed by Dr Patil managed to get only two candidates in the new regime with Dr Unmesh Khanvilkar getting elected to the Joint Secretary's post with 159 votes and former India batsman and Mumbai's last season's Ranji Trophy coach Pravin Amre getting a place in the Managing Committee. The Pawar-Mahaddalkar group claimed a virtual majority while the Shiv Sena-backed Cricket First group enjoyed little success.

Pawar not surprised
Pawar wasn't surprised by the overwhelming support for his group members. "I never expected to lose the two seats also. We lost Ravi Savant, one of the senior-most members of our group and Deepak Murkar, who is committed to develop cricket at the grassroot level. We will also invite those colleagues who lost the elections from the opposite group to come and work with us," Pawar told reporters after his group's thumping win.

Dr Patil was gracious in defeat. "I would like to congratulate Mr Pawar. We will humbly accept the verdict of the voters. I would not like to go into the details of why we lost at this moment. But I guess we have made our agenda for cricket quite clear now. Irrespective of the verdict, my love for the game and my enthusiasm will never diminish," Patil told mid-day.

Pawar, meanwhile, ruled out his entry into the Board of Control for Cricket in India again. "I will not be taking any BCCI assignments any more," the former BCCI and ICC chief told mid-day.