India domestic news November 20, 2010

Mallya backs Kumble in KSCA elections

ESPNcricinfo staff

Vijay Mallya, the owner of the Royal Challengers Bangalore IPL franchise, is supporting Anil Kumble for the post of Karnataka State Cricket Association (KSCA) president in the elections on November 21. Mallya, who is a member of KSCA's managing committee, has switched allegiances and is backing Kumble and his team after being part of the opposition camp, led by incumbent president Srikanta Datta Narasimharaja Wadiyar, the Maharaja of Mysore, during the previous election in 2007.

Mallya said his decision to back Kumble's team was a result of his unhappiness at the functioning of the present administration. "What I have seen in the last three years can be best described as frustrating. KSCA was the worst sufferer, with its administration politicised," Mallya said. "I have seen what happens in meetings at the KSCA over the last three years - nothing happens. Yes I did come in through Wadiyar in the last elections. What I figured later was that the people around him had just one agenda -- destroy Brijesh (Patel, the KSCA secretary from the opposition). I don't think the Maharaj had the same passion about destroying Brijesh but his people surely had and that meant cricket took a backseat. I became a disturbed spectator, a frustrated spectator in all this politics."

Mallya expressed confidence in Kumble's leadership, citing his performance in the IPL as evidence. Kumble was appointed captain of Bangalore during the 2009 season in South Africa and led his team to the final. Mallya said he believed former cricketers were the right people to take the KSCA forward. "Cricketers are the biggest stakeholders in Karnataka cricket and I think people who can take Karnataka cricket forward are those who have [cricketing] blood in their veins ... We need cricketing people to give it a cricketing framework and I believe this team [Kumble's] can do that."

Wadiyar, who is standing for a second term as KSCA president, rejected Mallya's comments that cricket had not been a priority during his tenure. "I take strong objection to Dr Vijay Mallya's statement against my supporters," Wadiyar said. "I do not want to comment too much on what Dr Mallya has said, but to say that there was no cricketing matter discussed during our administration is wrong. It was during this period that Karnataka made the Ranji Trophy final, while in the earlier years they had struggled to make the quarters even. I am proud to say that we brought in transparency and fairness in selection matters and it made a huge difference."