Cricket circles in the city are agog with speculation that the Union agriculture minister is thinking of contesting the elections to the MCA (Mumbai Cricket Association). Pawar was president of the MCA for 10 years before making way for Vilasrao Deshmukh who held the post for over a year until his death in August.
Pawar’s interest in the city’s cricket administration is being discussed openly within BCCI and MCA circles. “Yes, I’ve heard about it,” said MCA joint secretary Nitin Dalal. Similar was the response of BCCI vice-president Niranjan Shah. Ratnakar Shetty, Pawar’s confidant and chief administrative officer of the board, said it would be good for the MCA if Pawar returned.
If Pawar were to throw his hat into the ring, he may have a host of powerful personalities to contend with. To begin with, former India captain Dilip Vengsarkar, who had lost to Deshmukh last year, is an aspirant for the post. In 2011, Pawar, then heading the International Cricket Council, had supported Deshmukh against Vengsarkar.
Maharashtra industries minister Narayan Rane too is interested in the post. There is also talk of Shiv Sena scion Aditya Thackeray eyeing the post. Five clubs are said to be backing him. Then there is Ravi Savant, who took charge after Deshmukh’s demise.
If Pawar were to return to cricket administration, he may not stop at just the local association. Recently, the BCCI amended its constitution to enable its office-bearers to hold the same position twice. Which means Pawar is eligible to lead the BCCI again.