Wednesday, December 08, 2021

Ex-Ranji captains debunk new MCA panel

‘New MCA managing committee illegal, cricketers being given a raw deal’

Written by MANOJ MORE | Pune |
February 7, 2017 6:23:56 am
ranji trophy, ex ranji captains, MCA, maharashtra cricket association, gahunje stadium, MCA panel, maha cricket association panel, mca presiden, ajay shirke, maharashtra ranji trophy Former captains Yajurvindra Singh, Raju Bhalekar, Milind Gunjal, Vijay Shetty, Shantanu Sugwekar and Nilima Barve at a press conference. Express

Before Pune hosts its first historic Test match at Gahunje Stadium, a controversy has erupted over the legality of the new managing committee of the Maharashtra Cricket Association (MCA). A bunch of former Maharashtra Ranji Trophy captains have strongly opposed the “arbitrary appointment” of the committee, calling it illegal, unconstitutional and a violation of the recent directives of the Supreme Court. A protest, led by the likes of former captains — Yajurvindra Singh, Raju Bhalekar, Milind Gunjal, Vijay Shetty, Shantanu Sugwekar and Nilima Barve — has been launched against the “controversial committee”. They are livid at being ignored despite the apex court’s ruling that there should be a participation of ex-cricketers in the matters of cricket. On January 6, the managing committee meeting of MCA elected Abhay Apte and Riyaz Bagwan as President and Secretary, while Kumar Tamhane and Chandrakant Mate of Raigad were appointed as vice-presidents.

The MCA said President Ajay Shirke, Secretary Dhanpal Singh and vice-presidents Kamlesh Thakkar had to leave their posts due to the Supreme Court order that “any individual who has cumulatively completed a period of nine years as an office bearer of a state association stands disqualified from contesting elections or holding a post in the association”.

At a press conference last week, the former captains alleged that these appointments happened without calling for the mandatory annual general meeting and were not as per the Lodha Committee report. On the basis of which the Supreme Court has directed reforms. “Is the AGM not required before such appointments by managing committee,” asked Singh.

Former treasurer Madhav Ranade, who had abstained from the January 6 meeting, said, “Certain members who stood disqualified as a result of the verdict not only attended the meeting, but also took part in the new appointments. In case of MCA, the disqualified members also include all the zonal secretaries, who deemed to be office-bearers as per our constitution. The new appointments were not as per our constitution, as it spells out how the new office-bearers are to be appointed in the case of vacancies caused by any reason whatsoever,” he said in a letter to MCA.

Slamming the appointment in strong words, the former captains said, “These appointments are an attempt to misguide the cricket lovers and cricketers in Maharashtra. It is a mockery of cricket.”

They added that despite the SC orders that cricketers should be part of the cricket administration and management, people who have no cricket background are being appointed by MCA as office-bearers. “This is clearly violation of Supreme Court orders…we will certainly bring this to the notice of the highest court of the land,” they said.

Pointing out that all the 180 former Ranji players automatically become the members of the MCA managing committee, they said, “Only they have to right to elected the office-bearers. There should not be any appointments at the whims and fancies of an individual.”

They further said that people at the helm never conduct tournaments on time. “On some occasions tournaments are concluded without conducting the finals. Groundsmen get information only three-four days in advances and teams are informed on previous days on many occasions. The tournament committee is unaware of the matches many times,” said the former captains.

Anil Walhekar, a former Ranji player, said, “The MCA has always shown scant disrespect to former captains and former players. During the recent ODI, none of the former players were given passes or even invited to watch the matches,” he said.

The former captains strongly criticised the style of functioning of Ajay Shirke and Riyaz Bagwan. While Shirke was unavailable for comment, Bagwan, who has been elected as secretary of the new managing committee, denied all the allegations.

“The new managing committee has been formed on a urgent basis. We had to take the call as Pune is set to host its first historic Test match. It is only committee which is empowered to issue cheques and take other important decisions. Without a committee being in place, it would have become difficult to hold the Test match. We have appointed the committee and intimated the BCCI which has given its approval,” said Bagwan.

On the former captains’ allegations that they were being sidelined and given a raw deal, Bagwan said, “After the Test match is over, they will definitely take appropriate decision for involvement of the players in cricket matters as per the SC orders.”

Bagwan also denied the allegations that tournaments are never held on time or that they are conducted without finals.

Meanwhile, Abhay Apte, the newly-elected President of MCA, also denied the allegations, especially those relating to violation of SC orders.

“The Lodha Committee report has not been ‘adopted’ by the BCCI or the state associations so far. Though the SC has issued the directives, the recommendations have to be ‘adopted.’ Meanwhile, the SC has appointed a committee to ensure implementation of the Lodha Committee report. We are awaiting the guidelines in this connection…,” he said.

Apte added that till the guidelines were received, they had to take important decisions, such as forming the new managing committee to run the show, especially in view of the scheduled matches like the upcoming Test match.

Also, Apte said, though the SC has barred an individual from holding office for more than nine years, it has not barred him from remanning a member. “Therefore the allegation that the members who were barred as officer seconded the names of president or vice-presidents was illegal is not true,” he said.

He also added that MCA was serious about making former players and captains take active part in cricket matters and will do everything to ensure that.

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