Countering Shiv Sena supremo Uddhav Thackeray's comment that great cricketers like Sunil Gavaskar and Sachin Tendulkar have retired but Mumbai Cricket Association president Sharad Pawar "is still with pads on and his score is still zero", Pawar on Tuesday said his score is the best in history of MCA.
Pawar is all set to contest the biennial MCA elections and bid to retain his post against outgoing vice president Vijay Patil here on Wednesday.The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) supremo, backed by Bal Mahaddalkar group, and Patil are the only two contestants for the top post.Pawar has been MCA president for the last 14 years and will find it tough this time around with Thackeray backing Patil in the elections."My score is one of the best score in history of MCA. Late S.K. Wankhede has performed and is responsible for constructing the Wankhede Stadium. So the first century from the development angle was in the days of Wankhede," Pawar said at a press conference here.
"In the last few years, we are working together. The place where we are sitting today, the Cricket Centre, which is not only the headquarters of MCA but also the headquarters of Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).""Bandra Kurla Indoor Academy, the first indoor academy in India and club. Similarly in Kandavali, we have the same facility and now we all have decided to deliver same facility in Thane. So this is our score. But this is not only one century, but this is more than two centuries," Pawar said.He also said that he is happy with Mumbai's performance in Ranji Trophy and Cooch Behar Trophy in the last 15 years."Mumbai's performance in the last 15 years has been good. But I don't want cricket to flourish only in the city. I want to expand it to other top cities also. I feel proud when a player from Jammu and Kashmir plays for India. This shows cricket has reached all corners of the country," he said.Pawar also clarified that Mumbai's Kanga League has not been cancelled but has been postponed later in the year because of the monsoons.
Asked the reason of Mumbai's Ranji Trophy home matches only being watched by a handful of spectators in almost empty stands, Pawar said people are more into One-Day Internationals (ODI) and Twenty20 and not into the four-day cricket."This is not the problem of Mumbai only. This is throughput India. It's true that people don't turn up like they used to do in the past. We know that there is no ticket needed to watch the match but nowadays people are mostly interested in watching ODIs and Twenty20 and not into the four day cricket," he said.For the post of vice president (two seats), one can expect a close contest between former India captain and ex-chief selector Dilip Vengsarkar, administrator Aashish Shelar, ex-India coach Lalchand Rajput, administrator Sanjay Patil, former cricketer Abey Kuruvilla and administrators Rahul Shewale, Pratap Sarnaik and Ramdas Athavale.For the two seats of the joint secretary's post, P.V. Shetty, Ravi Savant, Rajput, Unmesh Khanvilkar, Kuruvilla and Sanjay Patil will contest.Administrators Nitin Dalal, Mayank Khandwala and Rajput will fight for the treasurers' post.