Lodha verdict could reduce Mumbai cricket’s history


In the backdrop of the mighty Supreme Court order, one that has taken the wind out of the BCCI sails, the word still isn’t out on what kind of research made way for the onestate, one-vote rule that is now in place. Apropos of the exact purpose for which the rule has been recommended -to curb the culture of servility in BCCI politics -the idea of one-state, one-vote has otherwise clearly left the Mumbai’s cricketing fraternity in great distress.The one-state-one-vote recommendation will now see the state associations of Maharashtra, Mumbai and Vidarbha, which were functioning independently until now, have only one vote in the BCCI on a rotational basis of one-year each.The recommendation may have been arrived at knowing the nature of ugly BCCI politics, which has now become a routine affair. But on the other hand, there are questions being raised if the Lodha panel took into account, for instance, the staggering dominance of Mumbai and its contribution to Indian cricket, the rich history associated with it and the simple fact that tinkering with history may have its own share of repercussions on a cricket association that, among other achievements, has 41 Ranji titles to its credit.The court says “rotational arrangement will give each association a right to a full member’s vote when its turn comes, without violating the broader principle of ‘one state one vote’ and such a system would also respect the history of these associations, their role in the promotion of the game and the formation of the BCCI.”But there are those who aren’t so convinced. “I can’t see the need for such an arrangement. Do you mean to say that if three votes are reduced to one, politics will cease to exist? And because there are a few bad apples, does it mean those who’ve done good for the game and tried their best to uphold its history should suffer,” says 83-year-old Madhav Apte, one of the oldest living Test cricketers in the world and certainly the oldest from Mumbai right now.”There are some other rules too that I read; Three selectors instead of five, for example. I can’t understand the need for this. It’ll be sad if the history of Mumbai cricket is not upheld and I hope the men who are incharge of making these decisions get it right,” adds Apte. This Mumbai octogenarian isn’t the only one worried. There are others too.”Whatever has happened trivialises history . In London, Middlesex and Surrey are just half-an-hour from each other.But as counties, don’t they have their own individual identities?” says former captain Milind Rege. “It’s like this: Because of two bad students in the class, the whole class has to suffer. Yes, there is certainly a need for better transparency in governance and some recommendations are good. But what’s happening outside of that is sad. Mumbai’s legacy has been completely wiped out,” adds Rege.Amol Muzumdar, one of the best batsmen to have padded up for Mumbai ever, is still trying to get his head around this. “The MCA has been like a mother to us. I can’t think of any other way to describe it. Really don’t understand how they’ve come up with these conclusions,” he says.Ravi Shastri, given his experience as a cricketer, administrator, commentator and coach, says he doesn’t think he ever climbed the first floor of the MCA office more than twice in his 14 years of playing for Mumbai. “Barring the really big names, at most times we didn’t even know who were the officebearers in the MCA.”On that note, Shastri is optimistic that cricket will be given the space to continue the way it has while administrators and the court work on other `important’ aspects. “I should be secure in the knowledge that if I get a 100 or a double hundred, it is going to stay in the Mumbai cricket record books.”Outside of this, what could possibly be the repercussion of this court judgment, that only time will tell. As far as funding goes, I’m certain Mumbai will not be in the same bracket as some northeast state,” he adds.

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