By Denzil Fernandes
Daijiworld Media Network
Mumbai, Jul 15: Two stalwarts in their own way, Vengsarkar (Dilip) and Vilasrao (Deshmukh), one a top Indian cricketer and another a top Indian politician are taking centrestage as they get ready to battle it out for the prestigious post of the President of the Mumbai Cricket Association taking place on Friday (Jul.15) in Mumbai.
Both men are currently vice presidents in the richest cricket body in India and experts in their own ways.
With overwhelming favourite and heavyweight, current President of MCA (Mumbai Cricket Association) Sharad Pawar having withdrawn, Vilasrao Deshmukh and Vengsarkar are fighting it hard in a now or never contest that will see either a politician continuing to hold the position or a cricketer getting the plum post. Such is the importance of the elections, that the Union minister chose not to attend the swearing in ceremony held in Delhi earlier in the week for the new cabinet.
Both the camps are having huge support with Pawar’s camp now backing Vilasrao while many eminent cricketers are expecting the ‘Colonel’ of Indian cricket to take charge. The prestigious body has always been headed by politicians in the past including Wankhede, Manohar Joshi and Sharad Pawar. In between, former India stumper Madhav Mantri too held the post before being taken by the politicians.
Apart from Vengsarkar, there are many others like Chandrakant Pandit, Milin Rege, Balwinder Sandhu, Ghavri, Lalchand Rajput and above all Ratnakar Shetty of BCCI (treasurer of MCA) for various posts in the lucrative body.
Support has come for the Presidential contestants from various quarters including former India captain Kapil Dev calling for cricketers to be elected to the top body. He has said that cricket should be in the hands of cricketers. Former India batsman and Mumbai star late Dilip Sardesai’s wife Nandini too has echoed and said that politicians should look after their portfolios first and then at sports. Yet another political party, Shiv Sena is backing Dilip Vengsarkar. Interestingly, there is a lady candidate in Hema Phadke who is trying to get a position in the managing committee as one of the members.
Some other cricket associations in the country have slowly but surely been taken over by former cricketers. Leading among them is the Karnataka Cricket Association (KCA) which is headed by former spinner Anil Kumble with speedster Javgal Srinath as the secretary. This apart, there are others like Binny, Kirmani, Vishwanath, Prasad, Dravid and others who are all part of the current KCA set up.
A royal battle is on the cards with so many onlookers from the other associations. This is one contest which pits the might of a politician against a former Indian cricket captain. Will the clout of the politician prevail over the ‘Colonel’? Whatever the outcome, a juicy tussle between V and V is as good as a bestseller. Who will be the President of MCA ?
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