हिन्दीಕನ್ನಡമലയാളംதமிழ்తెలుగు

Mallya's entry adds drama to KSCA elections

Published: Sunday, August 12, 2007, 23:53 [IST]
 
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The winds of change are blowing stronger across M Chinnaswamy stadium, the seat of power of Cricket in Karnataka, as liquor Baron Vijay Mallya and the last Scion of the Wadiyar dynasty Srikantadatta Narasimharaja Wadiyar determined to unseat the current team of the Karnataka State Cricket Association (KSCA) spearheaded by former test cricketer Brijesh Patel.

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Bangalore: The winds of change are blowing stronger across M Chinnaswamy stadium, the seat of power of Cricket in Karnataka, as liquor Baron Vijay Mallya and the last Scion of the Wadiyar dynasty Srikantadatta Narasimharaja Wadiyar determined to unseat the current team of the Karnataka State Cricket Association (KSCA) spearheaded by former test cricketer Brijesh Patel.

The quadrennial elections of KSCA is due for September nine with Brijesh and his team likely to be opposed by Mr Wadiyar, who recently announced his intention to enter state cricket administration.

He got an able support from Mr Mallya, who is already into motor and horse racing and football in a big way.

Despite the big money involved in the cricket in Karnataka, the game had lost its sheen during the last five years and the state failed to produce a star of national standing.

The state, which used to have a strong presence in the national squad during its 'golden age' in the 80s and 90s had lost its way in producing players of high caliber.

After the formidable trio of Rahul Dravid, Javagal Srinath and Venkatesh Prasad, it had failed to produce a big player, barring Robin Uthappa for Team India.

This aspect strengthened the campaign of the detractors of the incumbent Secretary and former Test batsman Brijesh Patel and his team.

The fight for top posts like President and the Secretary is hotting up with big time 'players' throwing their hats in the fray.

Brijesh, who had been at the helm for nearly a decade, faces a tough battle from Wadiyar, who announced his candidature for the post of President and backed 'old horse' G Kasturirangan, former Chairman of the BCCI Pitches' Committee, for the post of Secretary.

Former cricketer Gundappa Vishwanath had also expressed to contest in the elections.

However, what changed the whole dimension of the imminent elections was the proposed entry of Vijay Mallya into the KSCA. Reports strongly suggested that Mallya, who is also a Rajya Sabha MP, was eyeing to make a big splash into cricket administration. Mr Wadiyar recently claimed that the UB Group Chairman, with whom he had a ''long chat'', had agreed to back his group.

Mr Wadiyar said he intends to bring in total transparency in cricketing, administration and financial aspects, if elected.

''There will be transparency in selection of teams at all levels and appointment of professional selectors,'' he said.

Mr Kasturirangan said the group was launching its campaign with the noble intention of betterment of the sport in the state.

''The game has suffered. We want to reverse the trend of the representation of players from Karnataka, which has drastically gone down in recent times, not just in the senior level but also at age-group levels,'' he added.

Though Mr Mallya was not available for comment, the news of his entry was overwhelmingly welcomed by many, especially by the former stars like E A S Prasanna, Syed Kirmani, A V Jayaprakash, B Arun Kumar and V S Vijay Kumar. Kirmani has all praise for Mallya saying, ''this is the man who brought back Tipu's sword to India. He is a known connoisseur of sports and what ever sport he supported has become a big success.

Mallya should happen to cricket too. We will be proud to have him in our ranks''.

Prasanna was equally enthusiastic in welcoming Mallya to cricket's fold.

''He is always been a patron of sports and a good sportsman himself. He is an excellent administrator as well. His entry into cricket administration means good news to all of us.'' However an undeterred Brijesh claims, his deeds will speak for him and he was instrumental in establishing modern cricket infrastructure in different districts apart from making improvements to M Chinnaswamy stadium, which is also the headquarters of the National Cricket Academy.

Whether he was directly responsible or not, he would have to carry the burden of Karnataka not been able to produce enough number of stars and arrest the slide of the Ranji team.

The team, which was once constantly on par with top teams like Bombay, Bengal and Tamil Nadu and were winners of the coveted trophy for six times in the past, had lost its sheen and was even relegated to plate division in the tournament.

Refusing to accept that the cricket in Karnataka had lost it shine, Brijesh says ''the state continues to produce good players and the game in the grass root level is attracting talented youngsters. We have provided good facilities for the age groups and have done everything to improve the quality of cricket. We have done our work. All people, including the Committee members and players are aware of that. BCCI has been appreciative of our team's work. We will continue to keep up the good work,'' he added.

Brijesh came to power, nearly ten years ago, under similar circumstances when long served Secretary C Nagaraj was felt as a spent coin and no more useful to the state's cricket.

UNI

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