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Political bigwigs battle for MCA seat

Press Trust Of India
Jun 19, 2011 at 01:44pm IST

Mumbai: Politicians have ruled the roost for almost half a century at the Mumbai Cricket Association, which has produced the highest number of Indian Test players, and it is likely to remain unchanged at the forthcoming MCA elections on July 15.

Incumbent chief Sharad Pawar, the ICC President and a cabinet minister, will contest for the president's post after some earlier indications that he may not do so.

"Mr Pawar has decided to contest the elections. The majority of members want him to continue for two more years and he has bowed to their wish," said a Pawar confidante after the Nationalist Congress Party leader decided to contest the polls on Friday.

Political bigwigs battle it out for MCA hotseat

Pawar is expected to be opposed by former India skipper and ex-national panel chief Dilip Vengsarkar.

Pawar is expected to be opposed by former India skipper and ex-national panel chief Dilip Vengsarkar, who has played 116 Tests and was a member of the 1983 World Cup-winning team, and former Maharashtra CM Vilasrao Deshmukh.

"I am going to contest for the president's post. In fact I was the first to announce my candidature," Vengsarkar told PTI, confirming his decision to contest the polls.

Both Vengsarkar and Deshmukh are the current vice presidents of the MCA.

A clearer picture would emerge when the filing of nominations for various posts commences a week before the hustings.

Barring a stint by former Test stumper Madhav Mantri, between 1987 and 1992, MCA has been headed by politicians since Sesharao Wankhede took over its reins in 1964 and relinquished it only in 1987.

Now Vengsarkar is determined to stand against Pawar who became MCA's president in 2001 when he took over the reins from fellow politician Manohar Joshi who ruled the association from 1992 onwards.

The 55-year-old former cricketer is backed by his one-time India and Mumbai teammates Balwinder Sandhu and Chandrakant Pandit, according to informed sources.

Vengsarkar's move to wage a poll battle against the political bigwigs, means it would be the second occasion in the last decade that a former cricketer would be trying his luck at the polls against people who are seasoned at this game.

Another former Test captain, Ajit Wadekar, had contested against Pawar and lost in 2001. Can Vengsarkar buck the trend, is the big question.

But he needs to look no further than another leading Test cricketer-producing state, Karnataka, which is now headed by another ex-India skipper Anil Kumble, for inspiration.

Kumble and his ex-India and state teammate Javagal Srinath contested the KSCA elections and won comfortably last year.

Pawar's supporters feel he needs to remain at the helm to guide MCA which has revamped the Wankhede Stadium at a huge cost.

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