As Mumbai Cricket Association goes to polls tomorrow, former swing bowler and Ranji Trophy-winning coach calls for fresh faces in the corridors of power
The Board of Control for Cricket in India's (BCCI) initiative to bring in fresh thinking by inducting role models Sachin Tendulkar, VVS Laxman and Sourav Ganguly in an advisory committee as well as handing over the reins of junior cricket development to the studious Rahul Dravid, is a step in the right direction. The Mumbai Cricket Association should follow their lead.
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BCCI president Jagmohan Dalmiya, though not in the best of health, is known for his brilliant administration and marketing skills. He combines well with Anurag Thakur, who having played cricket at the first-class level, understands the demands of the game and the process of development. Thakur brings in freshness to cricket administration. At the same time, he has the courage to call a spade a spade. We in Mumbai need administrators with such an attitude.
MCA was a leading association in the country. It set the benchmark for other units - to follow their innovative schemes — which have borne fruit for a long time. Unfortunately, there has been rusty thinking within the MCA, and there were decisions made to enhance self-promotion. That this pushed cricket to the back burner was clearly visible.
Sadly, despite being able administrators, the self-centered attitude gravely dented the pride of winning more Ranji trophies and producing more cricketers than the rest of the country put together. Tomorrow is a crucial day for cricket in Mumbai and it all depends on the voters who like some in the Association, are looking for crumbs and will vote for undeserving candidates.
They must be held responsible for the degeneration of cricket in Mumbai. What you sow, you will reap. The time has come for voters, who earlier succumbed to 'rewards', to now vote for those who can deliver. They must take pride in electing the right people. Honestly, all Mumbai cricketers could not have developed infrastructure on their own but Mr Wankhede in the past and Mr Sharad Pawar now did it as they have the ability to move government machinery and get things done. Myself, like most cricketers, admire and acknowledge Mr Pawar's contribution to Mumbai cricket.
On behalf of all cricketers, I humbly request Mr Pawar to pass on the baton to Vijay Patil, who has the experience and administrative skills to take the development of the game forward. Patil has a formidable team consisting of Nadim Memon and former Test cricketers like Abey Kuruvillla, Lalchand Rajput and Pravin Amre as well as some first-class cricketers, who can deliver on all fronts.
The Bal Mahaddalkar group also have good administrators but had to toe the line because of group politics. Voters must elect all those who have a pro-cricket and pro-cricketers attitude. And that, is the need of the hour! Dilip Vengsarkar moving to Sharad Pawar-Mahaddalkar group was a bit surprising. Hopefully, he has not upset his followers.
I am sure he has worked out the voting maths correctly. Cricketers do get around 125 out of 330-odd votes, from those who care for cricket. Managing 40 to 50 more votes shall be a real task as politics is a game of deception, manipulation and back-stabbing. Watch your back, Vengsarkar! You winning will add value to the legacy of MCA. I humbly request voters to listen to their inner voice and chose the right person for the right post.