India news November 21, 2010

'We want KSCA to be a model association' - Kumble

Anil Kumble reacted to his group's historic and overwhelming win in Sunday's KSCA election by promising accountability and a lack of bias in the new administration.

"Our idea is to make KSCA a model association," Kumble, the new president, said. "I've always walked into the stadium for the last 25 years going past the offices and into the ground. From tomorrow I'll have to stop walking into the ground."

His former India team-mates, Javagal Srinath and Venkatesh Prasad, also won their contests and their election could represent a landmark moment in the governance of state cricket in India - and it evoked fitting emotions among supporters waiting in the Chinnaswamy Stadium complex. Also looking cheerful was Vijay Mallya, the Royal Challengers Bangalore IPL franchise owner, who publicly backed Kumble last week.

"We stressed that we are on cricket's side," said Javagal Srinath, the new secretary, to applause at a packed press conference. "One of the things we advocated to people is when we have divisions, we belong to neither of the groups. We have support from both sides."

Though the pair, India's fast-bowling and spin spearheads for much of their careers, didn't state a detailed plan for Karnataka cricket, there was an emphasis on accountability in administration. "You see captains not just as captains but also as players. If they don't perform well, you speak of dropping them. As a president, if you're just the office holder it's of no use. There will be accountability, and we'll bring that into our functioning," Kumble said.

"All 24 members will take responsibility," said Srinath. "It will be absolute delegation."

The elections were preceded by strong campaigning from the candidates and Srinath said the voters - a pool of 1489 members and 229 clubs - had to be convinced that the cricketers would make a difference to the game in the state. "We've made them believe that we will definitely make a difference… we will corporatise the functioning." He also appealed to the concerns more immediate to some of the members of the KSCA. "Enhancement of facilities for our life members is very important, as well as clubhouse upgradation in many ways. This was our storyline that has impressed our votebank."

A belief in the winning candidates' "vision" for cricket, Srinath said, was what he and his team aimed to instill in the voters. "We had to really explain how the vision came up - a vision that was just not snatched from somewhere and put on the table. The vision came right from the grassroots level, from what we went through, the pluses and minuses and then international cricket. Our exposure through media, [for me] as a match referee - our vision for cricket has come from all walks of life."

The elected officials get a three-year term, one Kumble felt was long enough to warrant a definitive judgment. "Our focus was the team and I'm glad the members chose the team rather than the individuals. Even within the team, they've chosen fantastic individuals with varied expertise and their experience will come in handy. Three years, I believe, is a good enough time to measure one's performance."

Siddhartha Talya is a sub editor at Cricinfo