India news October 9, 2013

Pawar to contest Mumbai Cricket Association elections

Sharad Pawar, the former ICC president, has filed his nomination papers for the president's post of the Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA), the first official indication of his interest in returning to active cricket administration.

Pawar, who headed the MCA for 10 years, submitted his papers at the MCA office on Wednesday, two days before the deadline for filing nominations for the election, due on October 18. As of now, Pawar, the federal agriculture minister, has a challenger in Gopinath Munde, deputy chief of the principal opposition party in the Lok Sabha, the lower house of the Indian parliament. Munde, who was earlier expected to contest the vice-presidency, surprisingly filed his papers for the president's post on Tuesday. The last date for withdrawals of nominations is October 15.

Pawar's anticipated return to cricket administration is considered a significant development not only for the MCA, which is in a financial and administrative mess at the moment, but also in BCCI politics. If elected, Pawar will be eligible to sit in on BCCI meetings, despite acting president Ravi Savant being a BCCI vice-president.

As was evident during his three-year stint as the BCCI president from October 2005, Pawar has the ability to unite the board. With the muddle that the BCCI finds itself in, with president N Srinivasan deciding against standing down on grounds of propriety following his son-in-law Gurunath Meiyappan's alleged involvement in the IPL corruption scandal, a section within the BCCI is looking up to Pawar to return and start constructing an organised front against Srinivasan.

It is believed that lack of a candidate that could have taken on Srinivasan during last week's BCCI election resulted in Srinivasan being able to exploit the constitutional provisions and retain his seat unopposed for another year. If Pawar is elected as MCA president and can spare "some of his time regularly" over the next year, Srinivasan detractors may be able to pose a threat to his throne ahead of the next year's election.

However, for that to happen, Pawar first has to ensure that he wins the MCA elections, a field of 329 voters, and then shows inclination towards displacing his friend-turned-foe.

Amol Karhadkar is a correspondent at ESPNcricinfo