A day before the start of the Mumbai Cricket Association’s (MCA) elections, where 34 candidates will contest for various posts, the war of words between the two rival parties reached its zenith, with incumbent president Sharad Pawar replying to Uddhav Thackeray’s day-old criticism.
On Monday, Shiv Sena leader Thackeray, who in his first appearance at the MCA elections has backed the Vijay Patil group, had accused Pawar of not stepping aside. “Tendulkar retired, Gavaskar retired but our (MCA) president doesn’t want to retire. His score still remains zero but he is padded up once again.”
Pawar replied on Tuesday saying that he is batting on multiple centuries. This feat, he claimed, was possible as he has done plenty of MCA’s infrastructure — including building the headquarters of the BCCI.
“In MCA’s administrative history, the performance of Sheshrao Wankhede was very good, as he was the first to develop this infrastructure. In the last few years, the Cricket Centre which was built during my tenure is not only the headquarters of MCA but also of BCCI,” Pawar said while addressing voters on Tuesday. “I am not batting on one century, but on multiple centuries,” Pawar, NCP’s chief, added.
Thackeray was later under attack by BJP MLA Ashish Shelar, who asked if Pakistan would be allowed to play at the Wankhede next year during the World T20 if the Shiv Sena-led group were to come to power.
“They (Shiv Sena) were the ones who had destroyed the pitches. I have one question for them. India is to host the T20 World Cup next year. Will that party (Shiv Sena) which dug up the pitch here (in 1991, leading up to Pakistan’s tour) allow our neighbours to play at the Wankhede Stadium,” Shelar asked.
Shelar will be contesting for the vice-president’s post, along with former India captain Dilip Vengsarkar, from the Pawar group. Thackeray’s Patil-led Cricket First group, on the other hand, has fielded Shiv Sena Thane MLA Pratap Sarnaik and former pacer Abey Kuruvilla.
Dr PV Shetty, who is contesting for joint-secretary’s post from the Pawar group, said they want to have more cricket in Mumbai’s suburbs. “Our plan is to have insurance for cricketers and want to use corpus for clubs’s expenses for cricketing activities. Cricket has gone far in the surburbs and as Pawar sahab said we will have academy in Thane and Eastern suburbs too in the future so that players don’t need to travel so far,” Shetty said.