That one of Mumbai’s most experienced Test cricketer-administrators is not in the inner ring of the city’s cricketing set-up is a travesty. Dilip Vengsarkar dreamt of becoming president of the Mumbai Cricket Association, only to be defeated by the late Vilasrao Deshmukh last year.
He now watches as his association is in the throes of adversity. On Monday, the boat got more rocky when prominent former cricketers — Karsan Ghavri, Balvinder Singh Sandhu and Nilesh Kulkarni quit the Cricket Improvement Committee while former Mumbai captain Milind Rege resigned as selector.
Many reckon that Vengsarkar is the man needed to shift the focus back to cricket. Will he return someday is the big question. Meanwhile, he opens up to MiD DAY.
Excerpts from an interview:
How surprised are you at Tuesday’s developments of four prominent cricketers not wanting to have anything to do with the MCA?
I did not expect it, but there was a buzz that the things were going out of hand as the behaviour of a couple of members of the committee was not acceptable. These things do happen when undeserving people are elected and then they think they can do anything; behave as they please and get away with it.
All four resignations emerged after the CIC meeting. Do you think the formation of CIC was a wrong move by Sharad Pawar in the first place?
It was an excellent move by Sharad Pawar, but wrong people were chosen/nominated as committee members and that made matters worse each time. It should have been former cricketers besides MCA office bearers. And, former cricketers must be those who are in the loop of what is happening in Mumbai cricket — not only at the grassroots level, but also at the office and club level. They should be hands on too.
Top cricketers were humiliated. What would you have done if you were a CIC member?
Look, I was a CIC member for more than a decade. Humiliating former cricketers after you nominate them on the CIC is just not acceptable. It never happened before. I feel it is most unfortunate and deplorable and must be condemned by everybody. How one conducts the meetings is equally important. The chairman plays a very important role and must not allow things to go out of hand.
The MCA president has been quoted as saying that CIC has the right only to recommend coaches and other personnel, but the final decision will be taken by office bearers. Your view?
No, I don’t think so. The CIC is an ad-hoc committee, nominated by the managing committee to take all the cricketing decisions that the managing committee has to only ratify. The CIC is the final authority as the office bearers are also part of the CIC besides a couple of managing
We believe you were offered to head the CIC after Vilasrao Deshmukh became president. Yes, you were dejected because you lost the elections, but what other factors kept you away?
Yes, Vilasrao did call me and requested me to head the CIC, but I declined simply because the MCA voters rejected me and elected Vilasrao. I felt it was wrong to head the committee if one was not wanted in the first place. I was extremely dejected and disheartened as I worked very hard during the eight years that I was the vice-president and chaired many not only managing committee meetings but also the sub-committee meetings and took many important decisions that helped Mumbai cricket retain its No 1 position in Indian cricket. And, here comes a politician, who has neither clue nor passion nor interest in Mumbai cricket and wins the
What is your biggest fear for Mumbai cricket?
People who are not connected or concerned about Mumbai cricket taking over. Also, Mumbai losing out on promising players if they are not blooded properly, not treated well and not employed.
Where do you think Mumbai cricket will reach if things continue like this?
You don’t have to be an Einstein to know what will happen if things don’t improve. I feel the elected members must know their responsibilities and work hard towards only one goal and that is, to take Mumbai cricket ahead. Personal agendas must not be entertained at any cost.
Are you heartbroken that MCA, the body that is supposed to lead the way as a premier association, is enduring a loss of face?
The MCA has been a premier association for many decades. We boast of a great history and tradition. We all played for the association with great pride and enjoyed each other’s success. That’s the reason we were on top for so many years. Yes, I am heartbroken to see where the association is heading. The behaviour of the officials, the in-fighting does percolate on the ground too and it affects players’ performance. I hope better sense prevails before the season ends and Mumbai does well in premier