Indian domestic news July 15, 2011

Vilasrao Deshmukh is new MCA president


Vilasrao Deshmukh, the former Maharashtra chief minister, has defeated Dilip Vengsarkar, the former India captain, in the 77th presidential elections of the Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA), continuing the two-decade long trend of a politician heading the body. Deshmukh's margin of victory was 47 votes; he received 182 to Vengsarkar's 135.

Of the 329 members supposed to vote in the secret ballot, six did not turn up, three others did not vote and three votes were invalid. Deshmukh arrived at the Wankhede Stadium late in the evening, after the result had been announced. Vengsarkar, who had spoken at the MCA's annual general meeting ahead of the polls, was not to be seen after his defeat. The result was in contrast to the outcome of the Karnataka State Cricket Association election in 2010, when a player-dominated group led by Anil Kumble swept the polls.

Deshmukh said later that he would use the experience of Vengsarkar, who is part of the MCA's cricket improvement committee. "We will try to use him [Vengsarkar] in the best possible manner. He is an asset to the association," he said. "He is a very senior cricketer. With his help we can develop more cricketers for Mumbai."

Both Vengsarkar and Deshmukh were MCA vice-presidents for eight years and their agendas were similar: the upgradation of maidan cricket and the development of university, college and school cricket. Deshmukh contested the presidency as an independent candidate, but received support from the formidable alliance of the Sharad Pawar and Bal Mahaddalkar group.

Pawar, who was the MCA president from 2001, had intended to run for re-election but was ineligible because his permanent address is in Baramati, a town near Pune. Clause 17 of the MCA constitution states that only a resident of Mumbai or Thane is eligible to be president. Pawar attended the annual general meeting but left mid-way because he had to attend a federal government meeting in Delhi on Saturday. Before his departure, he asked Vengsarkar, "the senior vice-president", to take charge of the rest of the AGM.

Though Pawar wasn't present during the voting, his influence was. The events at the BCCI headquarters, which is in the same complex as the MCA, resembled a political rally instead of a cricket body's elections. Even the monsoon did not dissuade the politically inclined from wearing their white, starched cotton attire.

As the evening lengthened, supporters started speaking in hushed tones about Deshmukh's lead and soon those voices grew louder. Mammoth garlands were brought out of the boots of cars in anticipation of Deshmukh's arrival.

The first cheers, however, were heard from Vijay Patil's camp. Patil, an independent candidate, had contested for one of the two vice-president's posts. He runs the DY Patil Sports Academy and Stadium, which hosted the IPL finals in 2008 and 2010.

BCCI's chief administrative officer Ratnakar Shetty, an MCA office-bearer for 25 years and part of the Pawar panel, was elected as the second vice-president. Ravi Savant won the treasurer's post, while Nitin Dalal and PV Shetty were elected joint secretaries, replacing former India opener Lalchand Rajput, who ran for vice-president, and Hemant Waingankar.

Rajput was one of the prominent losers, having served as secretary thrice, but none of his terms were consecutive. Former India players Balwinder Singh Sandhu and Karsan Ghavri contested for posts on the managing committee as part of Vengsarkar's panel but failed to get sufficient votes.

Only three members of Vengsarkar's panel - Chandrakant Pandit (former India wicketkeeper), Nadim Memon (a prominent maidan curator, who had looked after the Wankhede for three Tests) and Mayank Khandwala - were elected to the managing committee. "It is a defeat for sportsmen," Memon said.

Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. Tariq Engineer is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • shankar on July 17, 2011, 3:29 GMT

    recently its announced that no politicians are allowed in any kind of ICC'S various posts... why dont u implement in india also when mr. deshmukh elected as MUMBAI CRICKET ASSOCIATION... i think we need professional cricketers or sports person should be appointed as president of any cricket board...

  • amit on July 17, 2011, 0:01 GMT

    @TATTUs ... LOL.......Deshmukh did not resign due to 'Adarsh Housing Society Scam' ...... he was not even a minister by then.........

  • Dummy4 on July 16, 2011, 17:52 GMT

    Indeed a sad result reflecting the politicians' stronghold on key positions in the organizations that have continued to be there working in the same manner as they were doing earlier. These administrators should work under the former cricketers, as these former cricketers have the necessary vision to take Indian cricket further, not these short sighted politicians who are concerned with extending their political careers and making more money at the expense of the general public.

  • Sriram on July 16, 2011, 12:55 GMT

    What a shame! Politicians treating cricket as a tool to swindle money. Hats off to Vengsarkar for standing the elections. I hope we get more cricketers standing in the various cricket association elections.

  • Trascoine on July 16, 2011, 9:37 GMT

    Pawar talks about freeing cricket from Politicans and then turns around and supports Desmukh (even though he is from a opposing party). This itself should tell you all you need to know.

  • Ahsan on July 16, 2011, 4:11 GMT

    Ritesh Deshmukh is all set to join the National Indian Cricket Team. Watch out guys.

  • g on July 16, 2011, 3:44 GMT

    so, what was that ICC talking about? freeing cricket admin from politics? shame on ICC and these bloody politicians

  • Emmanuel on July 16, 2011, 3:25 GMT

    What a shame? When others mourn, politican rejoice. Mumbai cricket deserves better. What next? His son will play for Mumbai?

  • Bharat on July 16, 2011, 3:19 GMT

    Those who want only cricketers to run cricket associations should look at what has happened after Hyderabad Cricket Association was taken over by Shivlal Yadav, Arshad Ayub and Venkatapathy Rajoo. Hyderabad now plays in Ranji Plate Division and last season scored lowest Ranji score by any team ever v/s Rajasthan. And Amabati Raydu left to play Ranji for Baroda. Let's see what Kumble, Srinath and Venkatesh Prasad can accompalish for KCA. Kumble didn't start his term positively by subordinating himself as "mentor" of a IPL Team which rents facilities from KCA.

  • ramachandra on July 16, 2011, 3:08 GMT

    This Deshmukh is the same who resigned the chief minister of maharashtra post after it emerged that he was involved in corruption. 'Adarsh Housing Society'!

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