Thatscricket - News - MCA polls: Wadekar fails to read Pawar flipper

Published: Saturday, January 20, 2001, 21:00 [IST]
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Mumbai: The adage that cricketers do not always make good administrators seems to have been taken too seriously by the members of the Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) as only one (Lalchand Rajput) out of the seven Test cricketers in the fray for the managing committee, polls for which were held on Saturday, was elected.In one of the most bitterly fought elections which had acquired a political hue with the entry of the former chief minister and Nationalist Congress Party president Sharad Pawar in the fray for the post of president at the last moment against Sena backed candidate former Test captain Ajit Wadekar, saw the politician prevail over the cricketer to become the new president of the MCA.The elections to one of the richest sports body in the country became a prestige issue between the Shiv Sena, which was supporting Ajit Wadekar and the Nationalist Congress Party as allegations and counter allegations flew thick and fast in the lead up to the elections.The Shiv Sena, whose leader Manohar Joshi was the outgoing president suddenly wanted a cricketer to become the president of the MCA, stating that it is the players who should run the MCA and leave politicians out of it, forgetting that it was a politician (Manohar Joshi) who was incharge of the affairs of the MCA for the past many years.Sharad Pawar on the other hand stated that a man of his position could help the MCA garner more funds and with his political clout help solve many vexed issue including that of the Garware Club, of which he is the president. The Garware Club residng on the premises of the MCA is locked in a legal tangle with the MCA on various issues, which Pawar had stated that he would solve if he is elected president. The elections also took a violent turn when the driver of Wadekar was assaulted by some men two days before the election. Though the police said that the attack was a result of a personal enemity and nothing to do with the elections, Wadekar asked for police protection.Wadekar rode on his past glory, thinking that would be enough to see him home. But Wadekar, who had played all types of bowling with aplomb in his playing days and was also regarded as one of the most astute captains of the country, could not read this wrong 'un from Pawar to come out the loser.Another interesting feature of this election was the rejection of the former Test cricketers by the members with as many as six of them biting the dust and only one (Lalchand Rajput) managing to emerge successful. The former Test greats who lost were Ajit Wadekar, Karsan Ghavri, Chandrakant Pandit, K Jayantilal, Raju Kulkarni and Suru Nayak.The message, which the voters gave was that players are good only on the field, but the job of administration is best left for persons other than cricketers.Whether this will mean that development of cricket will take a back seat in the quest of making the organisation more rich remains to be seen.However, if that happens then it would be a great shame that politicians would have ruined the game in the city, which is thought to be the cradle of Indian cricket. As one member put it, these elections have seen the emergence of dinner diplomacy with wine and wealth thrown around freely to garner support for the respective candidates. He further said that I hope the third 'W' that is women does not come into this picture otherwise it will be a great shame to the game of cricket. UNI

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