Cricket has taken a backseat again in the luxurious lobbies of the Mumbai Cricket Association.
On Monday, four prominent, long-serving former players — Karsan Ghavri, Balvinder Singh Sandhu, Nilesh Kulkarni (all Cricket Improvement Committee members) and Milind Rege (senior selector) quit their posts after being humiliated by certain members of the association.
Earlier, the move to have politicians heading the association came under a great degree of flak, but now a non-politician is the head. And yet, cricket is politicised.
The ball is in MCA president Ravi Savant’s court. Just like he was (as treasurer) quick to call for the banning of Shah Rukh Khan from the Wankhede Stadium when the actor reportedly behaved in an unruly fashion after a Kolkata Knight Riders vs Mumbai Indians Indian Premier League game last season, Savant must lead the way in bringing the high-handed officials to book.
The four cricketers gracefully accepted offers to be part of the set-up. Like true sportsmen, they will accept a difference of opinion when an important appointment has to be made. What they cannot be expected to accept is humiliation.
Ghavri stretched every sinew and helped Mumbai win many a title with his pace. Apart from his World Cup 1983 heroics, Sandhu can be credited for a second string Mumbai beating Delhi in the 1981 Ranji Trophy final. Nilesh Kulkarni too has been a Test player and without him Mumbai would have probably not won the 1997 Ranji Trophy final against Delhi under experimental floodlights in Gwalior. Rege claimed more than 100 wickets for Mumbai and excelled as a junior and senior selector.
Mumbai cricket has never had it so bad on the administrative front. To now expect a flawless performance on the field will be far-fetched. There are simply far too many shenanigans in a cricket-loving city whose past bat and ball tales are unbelievably true. The days of glory seem so very far away.