Vilasrao's MCA tenure was on a sticky wicket

Aug 15, 2012, 07:58 IST | Harit Joshi

From income tax problems, to incurring heavy losses and enduring tantrums of celebrities and players alike, Vilasrao Deshmukh had a short, yet stressful term as the president of Mumbai Cricket Association

Vilasrao Deshmukh faced some torrid times during his 13-month tenure as Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) president after beating former India captain Dilip Vengsarkar in last July’s elections.

Vilasrao Deshmukh attending the MCA's annual congregation
Curtain call: Vilasrao Deshmukh attending the MCA’s annual congregation at Wankhede Stadium last month, in what was his last public meeting before falling ill. Pic/ Satyajit Desai

Deshmukh became a strong contender after the then incumbent Sharad Pawar decided not to contest. Though Deshmukh was one of the vice-presidents of the association, he was not deeply involved in the running of the outfit. His opposition pointed towards the fact that he had attended just one meeting in two years. However, the voters gave him their nod and he was elected president last year.

Despite his ill health, he attended all the meetings and none of them were smooth due to various issues that emerged from the hosting of the World Cup final in April, before he took over the hot seat.

Here are some issues that Deshmukh had to grapple with:
405 World Cup final tickets going unsold:

The mystery behind the unsold tickets of the 2011 World Cup final between India and Sri Lanka at Wankhede Stadium still remains. According to a report compiled by MCA, it was revealed that the association faced a loss of nearly Rs 73.5 lakh. Deshmukh asked for a detailed report on how this happened.

Non-functional indoor academy at BKC:
MCA’s state-of-the-art indoor cricket facilities at Bandra-Kurla Complex have been lying vacant ever since the association’s elections in July last year. The indoor academy is virtually shut due to non-appointment of support staff. During the 78th Annual General Meeting on July 20, MCA officials promised their affiliated clubs that the academy would be fully functional. Only recently, they appointed former Mumbai pacer and current selector Pradeep Kasliwal as the director of coaching at the academy.

Tax liabilities:
MCA is battling Rs 51.20 crore income tax issue due to commercial use of association’s recreation property at the Bandra-Kurla Complex. MCA has appealed against the withdrawal of the tax exemption.

Wankhede Stadium renovation cost:
MCA members are still to come to terms with the stupendous rise in the estimated cost of the Wankhede Stadium refurbishment. The budget of Rs 145 crore shot up to Rs 280 crore, which has raised many eyebrows. Though the rise in cost was during Pawar’s regime, Deshmukh had to face the wrath of the members during the last AGM. He appealed to them to move on from the past.

SRK-MCA spat:
Deshmukh took no time on his return from New Delhi to attend a managing committee meeting to decide on the banning of Shah Rukh Khan after the Bollywood superstar and co-owner of Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) got into a tussle with an MCA guard and officials after a Mumbai Indians vs KKR Indian Premier League match a few months ago.
Deshmukh and his committee decided to ban SRK from entering Wankhede Stadium for five years.

Spat in Mumbai team:
Senior player Ajit Agarkar walked out of the team on the morning of a Ranji Trophy match after not being picked against Orissa at Cuttack last November. The incident caused Indian pacer Zaheer Khan to slam some members of the association. 

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