A day after four former cricketers — Karsan Ghavri, Balwinder Singh Sandhu, Nilesh Kulkarni (Cricket Improvement Committee) and selector Milind Rege — gave up their positions in the Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA), Ravi Savant, the president of the game’s governing body in the city, launched into damage-control mode, somewhat.
The man responsible for all this mess is allegedly one Deepak Patil, who is a senior inspector with the Mumbai Police. It is alleged that Patil, who is part of the CIC as well as the managing committee, spoke “extremely rudely” to the stalwarts, even asking them “what do you know about cricket?”. When contacted on Tuesday, Savant promised action against Patil.
“The managing committee will meet on the last Friday of the month (October 26) and this issue will be discussed,” Savant told DNA. “I expect all our members and office-bearers to maintain decorum and behave like educated people are supposed to. Patil’s fate will be decided by the members,” he added.
Savant, a reputed chartered accountant, is a staunch disciplinarian and the veteran administrator had recently dealt senior players Abhishek Nayar and Dhaval Kulkarni with an iron hand. All-rounder Nayar and medium pacer Kulkarni were dropped from the Mumbai side for abusing an umpire during a match in Bangalore. Hosts Karnataka State Cricket Association (KSCA), headed by none other than Anil Kumble, shot off a letter to the MCA, demanding action against the errant players. Savant sprung into action immediately and took the players to task.
When asked if he would display similar diligence in this case, Savant said, “It’s not in my hands. The managing committee will decide. But yes, action will be taken. I also want to apologise to the former cricketers. I want them to come back and serve Mumbai cricket like they have always done.”
One stalwart this paper spoke to laughed off Savant’s suggestion. “Do you know he chaired the meeting in which Patil abused the cricketers. Why didn’t he intervene then? And what apology is he talking about? None of the persons who resigned has been contacted yet by the MCA,” the former player said.
Patil has a chequered past. The police officer had allegedly abused an umpire (an international one at that) during the final of the Police Shield a few years ago. This prompted late Raj Singh Dungarpur to ring up AN Roy, who was then the commissioner of police. The police department had taken action against him then. “Yes, I am aware of his past. Let’s see what the managing committee decides,” Savant said. We are waiting too.