Wadiyar and Patel promise to start afresh
At the appointed hour, 20 minutes past five, Srikanta Datta Narasimharaja Wadiyar's car pulled into the Karnataka State Cricket Association (KSCA). He stepped out ceremoniously, and wanted to lead the way into the president's office, but couldn't compete with the TV crews and photographers. A strong believer in doing things at auspicious times, Wadiyar sat in the president's seat at 5.30 PM and threw the floor open to the media.
Wadiyar's working relationship with Brijesh Patel, the man he fought bitterly before and during the election, was one of the main points raised. Patel retained his post as secretary of the KSCA.
"The first priority is the one day international here on September 29 [against Australia]," Wadiyar said. "We have to conduct it well and Brijesh Patel is well aware of the day to day affairs of conducting an international match. I will discuss it with him and we need to ensure that the match goes well.
"Yes I know that we are two groups working together and we need to find a formula of compromise so that the best ideas are used. When I say compromise I mean to say no-confrontation, at least in the beginning. There is no point in starting with a confrontation with Brijesh."
When asked of the charges of financial misconduct leveled against the rival group during the course of the election campaign, he refrained from making any comments.
"We have stated the facts and in fact we discussed these issues in the AGM (Annual General Meeting) too yesterday," he said. "Yes we did speak about these issues during the election campaign and the facts are there but I don't want to say anything more at this stage. The law will take its course."
On the priorities of the KSCA apart from Bangalore's international matches in the upcoming home season, Wadiyar addressed the need to develop cricket in Karnataka, especially in the districts. He also mentioned that the proposed salary hike for all KSCA staff will be discussed later with Patel.
"Promoting cricket at all levels is the number one priority," said Wadiyar. "Improving cricket in the mofussil areas, improving the standard of club cricket, all these are issues that we need to work on."
Patel then walked in, posed for photos along with Wadiyar. There was a momentary awkward silence, which Wadiyar broke, saying "See we are sitting together and we will work together," as the gathered media and KSCA members broke out in laughter. "We will take the best ideas from both groups and work together for the game. Yes in the campaign, a lot of words were exchanged.
"But even political parties become friends once the elections are over. And here we are not talking about political parties, there are no high-strung egos. And I believe two different heads are better than one and I am sure we will work well together."
Patel then played down the pre-election jousting. "We are all sportsmen and as Wadiyar said `two heads are better than one.' They are also sportsmen who have the good of cricket at heart and I am sure the differences can be worked out."
He also wanted to put all the mudslinging and threats of lawsuits behind him. "Let us not talk about that. It's all over. We want to work towards improving the game. We have already done some good work and we need to carry that forward."
Anand Vasu is associate editor of Cricinfo