The city’s cricketing fraternity will decide on whether the Mumbai Cricket Association needs a new hierarchy or the same set of administrators.
‘What’s in it for us?’ is a question that will crop up among some voters. This newspaper asks: ‘What’s in it for the development of Mumbai cricket?’
The current regime headed by Sharad Pawar has some good administrators but as a group, they’ve not exactly set the neighbouring Arabian Sea on fire. Do they still need some time? Not exactly. They’ve had their chances and in a result-oriented world, they’ve not come out smelling of roses.
Dr Vijay Patil, who is challenging the incumbent Sharad Pawar, appears to be a man of vision with the nous to take Mumbai cricket forward. Pawar did that to an extent when he took over in 2001, but now (at 74), as every cricketer experiences (and this is no disrespect), he has passed his prime as a cricket administrator. Patil must be allowed to realise his dreams.
Mumbai has been a regular winner of the Ranji Trophy. Even as other states are winning more often than they used to, Mumbai still have won more titles (four) in the last 10 editions. And if Rajasthan and Karnataka can boast of winning two in a row in the last decade, so can Mumbai. But cricketing progress cannot be gauged by the number of Ranji Trophy miniatures in the MCA office cupboard alone.
Candidates spend a lot of their pre-election time convincing club owners to vote for them. However, the desire among administrators to improve club cricket is near-negligible. Many club owners feel the MCA played down the wrong line by removing the monsoon, salt-like ingredient of the Kanga League. Others reckon the new format gave the clubs more matches. This must be sorted. The Kanga League shouldn’t be the sole benefactor. The Purshottam, Talim, Comrade and Police Shields are as crucial.
Moving forward it is also a period when Mumbai cricket should look back at where success came from — a strong club culture and enthusiastic club secretaries for whom their respective tents and club houses were more important than their homes.