There is good reason to believe that Milind Rege's resignation as senior selector yesterday is a thick, dark full stop with regards to his relationship with Mumbai cricket.
For a man who made his Ranji Trophy debut for Mumbai in 1967, became captain in 1977 and served as junior and senior selector from the 1980s, he said he deserved more respect and appreciation.
At the heart of Rege’s resignation is the fact that he lost his post as chairman of the senior selection committee to Abey Kuruvilla whom the Mumbai Cricket Association proposed as their candidate to become a national selector at last month’s Board of Control for Cricket in India Annual General Meeting.
Kuruvilla being asked to chair meetings would not go down well with a senior statesman of Mumbai cricket. “When Dilip Vengsarkar was chairman of our (selection) committee, he always said that I would chair the meeting in his absence,” said Rege.
The former Mumbai captain clarified that he had no aspirations of becoming a national selector in this case because he would not be able to cope with the travelling, but he ought to have been given more “respect and appreciation” for his contribution to city cricket.
He couldn’t help remembering the time when he was part of the selection committee that picked Sachin Tendulkar as a 15-year-old kid to make his Ranji Trophy debut against Gujarat in December 1988. He recalled: “We spent one and a half hours discussing Sachin. My fellow selectors Sudhir Naik and Naren Tamhane listened to what I had to say. Some were sceptical about how he would cope if he failed. Gavaskar’s case was brought up (the master batsman was dismissed for 5 and 0 in his debut game for Mumbai — the Irani Cup in 1967).” Tendulkar scored a hundred in his debut game.
“Why did they make me chairman (last season),” asked Rege. “When your agenda is not Mumbai cricket and something else, then there is no point in continuing. The selection process was being questioned — this I have never experienced. When there is no respect and only humiliation, then it is time to go,” concluded Rege.
The MCA does not emerge smelling of roses with four resignations (Balvinder Singh Sandhu, Karsan Ghavri and Nilesh Kulkarni resigned from the Cricket Improvement Committee) in one go. Only recently, Prof Ratnakar Shetty, another enduring servant of Mumbai cricket, made his exit. The storm doesn’t seem to end at ‘D’ Road, Churchgate. Wonder whether there is a future for the all-important ‘C’ in MCA.