MCA elections: Poll position but no win in sight?

Updated: Oct 01, 2019, 07:55 IST | Subodh Mayure

Ex-internationals from Mumbai will vote in MCA elections for the first time, but players upset over tight form-submission deadline, profile of candidates

Former Mumbai and India captain Dilip Vengsarkar
Former Mumbai and India captain Dilip Vengsarkar

A decent voter turn-out is expected when it comes to retired men and women India cricketers from the city in Friday's Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) elections, but according to some cricketers, the MCA could have handled things better.

Retired internationals (Test and ODI) will be allowed to vote at state elections from this year thanks to the Lodha Committee recommendations. 3 pm yesterday was the deadline for retired internationals to submit their membership forms which qualifies them to vote. The MCA website last night displayed 39 names of internationals who have opted for membership. These 39 include Sachin Tendulkar and Chandrakant Patankar, the oldest living Mumbai Test cricketer at 88. From the 71 male Test players produced by Mumbai, at least 26 are deceased.

Rajput out of town

Lalchand Rajput, who is in Singapore with the Zimbabwe team for a tri-series is hoping for an extension in the deadline and could make it on Friday. Ex-India wicketkeeper-batsman Chandrakant Pandit who is coaching the Vidarbha team in Baroda for the Vijay Hazare Trophy may make it too. Players like national selector Jatin Paranjape and ex-pacer Avishkar Salvi, who figured in one-day international cricket for the country, are expected to vote as well.

Indeed, history will be made on Friday when players will have a say in the functioning of their state association through their vote. However, ex-India captain Dilip Vengsarkar said: "Former cricketers casting their vote is a positive thing, but the question is, who are we voting for? Cricketers should be contesting elections, but here we find that some are not eligible because they are doing commentary or running academies. The term conflict of interest will need to be redefined.

"Players casting their vote will not make any difference as I have not even heard the names of some candidates. They don't have a cricketing background and I will vote from them? What is their (candidates) contribution to Mumbai cricket; what level of cricket have they played; how many tournaments they run on their own?"
Meanwhile, Pandit felt former players should be intimated in a proper manner in matters regarding membership of their association.

"I came to know about it only yesterday [Sunday] and submitted the form immediately. It is not possible for everyone to see the information on the association's website. We are all busy in our respective fields. It's the first time this is happening so MCA should have given players enough time," said Pandit.

Like Pandit, even Rajput wasn't aware of the membership procedure. "They [MCA] should extend the date by a day or two to allow former international cricketers like us to submit our membership forms," Rajput said from Singapore.

Former India left-arm pacer Umesh Kulkarni nearly missed the deadline. "I thank Wani [Rajendra, who is part of MCA's administrative staff] for helping me to submit my form at the last minute," he said.

Raju hails voting rights

Former India pacer and ex-chairman of the Cricket Improvement Committee Raju Kulkarni, who quit his post last May, remarked: "The Lodha reforms have given cricketers a chance to vote for their representatives in the managing committee and get a cricketing thrust in the managing committee. This is most important because I have attended so many meetings as CIC chairman and everything apart from cricket was discussed.

"When we cricketers spoke about cricket at a particular level nobody would understand what we were talking about," remarked Kulkarni.

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