Kanishkaa Balachandran is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo
Anil Kumble, the former India captain and current president of the Karnataka State Cricket Associaton (KSCA) has announced that his administration, which includes former India team-mate Javagal Srinath, will not contest the upcoming KSCA elections. Kumble and Srinath, the association's secretary, came to power in November 2010, when they beat Srikanta Datta Narasimharaja Wadiyar, the former maharaja of Mysore.
During Kumble's tenure, the KSCA was the only major state association in the country run by former cricketers. The other players on the committee include former India seamers Roger Binny and Venkatesh Prasad, who hold the posts of vice-president. Kumble said that the expectations on former cricketers taking to administration is always greater than administrators from non-cricketing backgrounds.
At a press conference held at the Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore, in the presence of Srinath and Rahul Dravid, a KSCA committee member, Kumble said one of the biggest achievements of his team had been to spread the game and quality facilities to cities and towns outside Bangalore. He added that they hoped their programmes would serve as a template for future administration.
A book citing proof of the work done by his administration was also distributed. His team's reason for not contesting the forthcoming elections was to ensure that a state association must be "constantly evolving" to "accommodate fresh ideas, dependable processes and systems."
Kumble and Srinath stated that the expansion of the game to cities and towns outside Bangalore was also a major achievement. In the last three years, Mysore, Hubli and Shimoga have hosted Ranji Trophy and India-A matches. The three venues hosted matches between India A and West Indies A over the last month and, according to Kumble, grounds in Belgaum and Raichur would soon be ready to host Ranji matches in the upcoming season.
Kumble said that hosting matches featuring the West Indies A squad was "just the beginning" and had been done by giving "support and leadership" to zonal level convenors from the Bangalore headquarters. The expansion of the game across the state, he added, was an ongoing process he hoped the next administration would take forward.
Srinath stressed that the expansion of the game at the "grassroots" had been part of the KSCA's main objective to "give a youngster in a small town facilities on par with that of Bangalore", something which could only be done by maintaining "consistency" in the quality of nets, pitches and outfields across the state. Srinath added that the BCCI's decision to hand over the entire West Indies A series to Karnataka was recognition of the progress made in the state.
"The norm is to organise games across the country but the BCCI acknowledged that we have good facilities here," Srinath said. "That's a testament to our work and it gives us immense satisfaction. When you see the likes of Sehwag and Zaheer playing in Hubli, that is what you want. That should inspire at least 20-25 youngsters to take up the game. That can only come if you take the game to the districts."
He also stated that the KSCA had made itself financially independent for the next 10 years: "We have enough resources for the next ten years. If the BCCI stops paying us from tomorrow, we have enough funds through our fixed deposits and the interest accrued from that."
Srinath highlighted areas where former cricketers could make a difference. "Have we done justice to the kids who are the real stakeholders of this game? Have we provided them with the facilities and opportunities? Coming from a cricketing background, we knew exactly where that had to be stemmed," he said.