Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) president Sharad Pawar appeared to be pleased to call it quits from cricket administration of the city that has won a record 41 Ranji Trophy titles.
After the MCA Managing Committee meeting on Sunday, 75-year-old Mr. Pawar said, “I am quite happy to retire as a happy person. The Supreme Court has said that persons over 70 cannot continue and it has also said about the maximum period of nine years for office-bearers. So I come under both categories. I should not expect that I should continue. I cannot stay beyond six months. I don’t want to wait till then, but some procedures have to be completed.”
Mr. Pawar has no option, but to fade away from the scene after being a proactive president of the MCA for ten years from 2001 to 2010 and then from June 2015 onwards.
The Supreme Court order has set a time limit between four and six months for the BCCI and its full members to get its act together and Mr. Pawar has chosen to remain as MCA president until the time its Constitution/bylaws are amended as per the reforms in cricket proposals recommended by the Justice Lodha Committee and subsequently validated by the Supreme Court.
The veteran politician and cricket official also announced MCA’s acceptance of the Lodha Committee report in full. “The committee discussed the Supreme Court decision on the basis of Justice Lodha Committee recommendations and unanimously approved it. A small group will go into the proposed constitution and we will amend the existing one. We have decided that today. The draft constitution will be considered by the Managing Committee and thereafter placed before the Special General Meeting for approval.”
The MCA has decided to approach the BCCI for clarification though on the jurisdiction matter when it gets the turn to be the nominated full member by rotation.
The BCCI president Anurag Thakur and secretary Ajay Shirke would probably seek clarification on many recommendations when they meet Justice Lodha on August 9.
The BCCI officials are likely to be told of the timelines the BCCI has to adhere to in order to implement the recommendations within 4 to 6 months.
“There are one or two issues where we want a little clarification. The MCA is one of the oldest members of the BCCI and from the Maharashtra State, the Maharashtra Cricket Association and Vidarbha Cricket Association are also full members. As per the Supreme Court decision only one member will be allowed to participate in the BCCI activities (AGMs and other meetings) and there will be one vote. We don’t have any objection in this, but the important issue is the jurisdiction (under the one-State one vote rule) that will extend to the entire State,” Mr. Pawar said.
“In these circumstances, Mumbai’s jurisdiction (if it’s the voter) will cover not just Navi Mumbai and Thane, but the entire State. Selection of teams can create some unnecessary controversies. In the event of Maharashtra being the voter, its jurisdiction will cover Mumbai and Vidarbha, which will allow it to select players from Mumbai also,” Mr. Pawar added.
The Lodha Committee though has said that each of the three members can field teams in the BCCI tournaments and also be eligible for financial grant for development.
Mr. Pawar elaborated the work he did for the MCA and BCCI when he was president of the two bodies. “Under my regime, some major decisions were taken, like the pension scheme for cricketers, umpires, medical benefits for players and their spouse, grant of Rs. 50 crore for stadium development. The IPL has given opportunities for India’s young cricketers. At MCA, we created new venues at BKC and Kandivali, the Indoor Cricket Facility. After doing all this, I am happy to retire.”
Refusing to comment or react on the Supreme Court order he said, “It was a conscious decision to accept the report in full. I respect the judiciary. My worry is about the ICC rules. It says that no government should have its representative in the national body. The CAG and AG of State are government agencies. But then the BCCI has members of the Railways, Services and AIU. It’s a direct government involvement through the Services. I hope Shashank Mannohar (Chairman, ICC) will not take any objection.”