Current Mumbai Cricket Association vice-president Dr Vijay Patil tells mid-day why he has decided to challenge Sharad Pawar for the top post in the June 17 elections
Sharad Pawar is set to face opposition for the president's post of the Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) for the first time in 14 years after Dr Vijay Patil, the head of the Cricket First group, filed his nomination yesterday for the June 17 elections.
Dr Vijay Patil (extreme left) files his nomination at the MCA office yesterday. To his left are J P Gavande (partly hidden), Lalchand Rajput, Sangam Lad, Abey Kuruvilla, Pravin Amre, Mayank Khandwalla and Pratap Sarnaik (right). Pic/Atul Kamble
Pawar had beaten former India skipper Ajit Wadekar in 2000 to become the MCA president. He was at the helm for eight years in a row before heading the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) from 2005 to 2008 and then heading the International Cricket Council from 2010 to 2012. In the 2013, MCA polls, Pawar was elected unopposed with Patil's panel also supporting his candidature. This time though the veteran politician might have to slug it out to retain his chair.
Patil, who has been vice-president for four successive years since 2011, spoke to mid-day about his decision to take on Pawar. He also slammed his opposition with a straight bat.
Q. What made you contest for the president's post?
A. Right from the beginning, we were very clear that this is going to be a complete panel. We have made it clear on numerous occasions in my meetings. So, there was never a doubt. It is not a sudden decision and we have carefully taken into consideration all the factors. It was the overwhelming support from various stakeholders who felt that change was needed with someone having the right competency. Honourable Uddhavji (Thackeray) has given his complete support to this. Therefore, my name was proposed and I have taken this responsibility of heading this panel.
Q. Did you have any jitters to take on Pawar?
A. I don't think it's a question of jitters. I have immense respect for him and what he has achieved. He has been twice Chief Minister of Maharashtra; he has been ICC and BCCI chief as well. But every individual has his aspirations. I have affection and affinity for the game. It is important to encourage new individuals. This election is not about contesting against a particular person. As I said, I have love and affection towards this game and I want to contribute.
Q. What is wrong with MCA's administration?
A. The ruling group has disrespected so many issues. The constitution is sacrosanct. The last time, I was elected with the highest number of votes as vice-president. Despite pulling those votes, I was not allowed to discharge my duties as a senior vice-president. So when the constitution is not respected, it does not bode well for the health of the association in the future. The current establishment was not discharging its functions properly. The canvas is huge but right attitude is necessary. That is why change is necessary.
Q. One criticism against you is that you hardly attend any meetings…
A. It is an unfair accusation. You have to keep in mind that I was not allowed to legally chair those meetings as the senior vice-president. So, it should be asked to those who raise this question that why a constitutionally elected vice-president with highest number of votes was not allowed to chair the meetings. It was not an insult to me, but they have insulted the sensibility of all voters. After all, I represent the aspirations of the voters. I have attended most of the Managing Committee meetings. And many members know that. I do a lot of groundwork. I feel it is important to spend quality time in the meetings rather than quantity. I believe in action. Words without action is meaningless. My work is there for everybody to see. No matter what people might say, history can conceal facts, but geography cannot. So, all the maidans I have established, the stadiums that I have built and the sports infrastructure that I have created is there for everybody to see. What you deliver is important rather than what you speak.
Q. There is also talk that you have come into the MCA administration so that you can award matches to the DY Patil Stadium (in Nerul)...
A. It is a false and malicious propaganda. The DY Patil Stadium was built in 2004 — only a single official match was played at the DY Patil Stadium. To suggest that I have come here to take away matches is completely untrue. The Wankhede Stadium is the heart of Mumbai Cricket Association. So, all the major cricketing activities will be centered around the Wankhede Stadium. But that does not prevent you from developing the game in different regions of Mumbai. We have looked at that facility as a multipurpose venue. We promote various sports there. Rather than worrying about what might transpire at the DY Patil Stadium, the members should focus on issues facing the Mumbai Cricket Association. It is time the voters and members express themselves.