While Anil Kumble and Javagal Srinath move away from cricket administration in Karnataka State Cricket Association (KSCA), Sharad Pawar is back in the Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA). Abhijit Banare looks at why cricket needs a mix of both politicians and former cricketers.
October 18 was such an ironical day.Two of the finest cricketers who had fought their way to head a cricket administration decided against a re-election. While the same day witnessed a political bigwig ease his way in to the MCA office. Anil Kumble-Javagal Srinath and Sharad Pawar are contrasting personalities and so is their outlook towards the game. But the recent development is a symbol of politicians tripping over former cricketers to occupy top posts in administration.
This tussle between a non-cricket administrator and former cricketers will continue. A non-cricket administrator — in the Indian cricket, it’s either a politician or a business tycoon — who will be capable of mobilising finances and getting clearances by eliminating many hurdles. While the former cricketers, like Kumble and Srinath, will be able to help in the development of the game with their skills and magnetism.
It’s an interesting case of power to dominate and power to serve. Under influential political personalities, state associations have grown powerful, but it is unlikely that politicians are as capable as administrators like Kumble to spread the game and planting seeds at unheard places. With places like Shimoga and Hubli witnessing India A matches it further enhances the motivation for youngsters to take up the game.
Politicians may have their personal agenda while taking up powerful position in sports associations of a sport which has great authority over masses. But shrewd politicians will always understand what their strengths and weaknesses are. Pawar has allowed former players to take posts within his administration. Clean personalities in responsible administrative positions sends out the right signals good signal for the wellbeing of the game.
Apart from state associations there is ample of politics at the club level as well which actually combine to make a state association. However finding a mid-way is extremely essential. Sujata Anandan, political editor of Hindustan Times had mentioned an interesting situation back in 2000-01 when Ajit Wadekar had faced off against Sharad Pawar in the MCA elections. The former had some nasty comments to make before Pawar eventually won it. Yet when she went to interview a month later to meet Pawar, the former India captain was walking out from the politician’s residence. Pawar later said that he believes in taking people along and there was no use of retaining hostilities. Everyone has to work towards the same goal.
Perhaps, politicians can take a leaf out from Pawar’s book and engage cricketers collectively than being at loggerheads. The purpose for both parties for occupying a position may not be the same but it is essential for the game not just increase in finance but also how it reaches out and grows in such a large country like India. After all, cricket is a team game and so is cricket administration.
(Abhijit Banare is a reporter at CricketCountry. He is an avid quizzer and loves to analyse and dig out interesting facts which allows him to learn something new every day. Apart from cricket he also likes to keep a sharp eye on Indian politics, and can be followed on Twitter and blog)