He may have completed a full term as the vice-president, but still the whisper campaign against Amol Kale - the contestant from the Ashish Shelar-Sharad Pawar Group against World Cup champion Sandeep Patil for the high-profile post of the Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) president - is how he is an outsider.
The entrepreneur who hails from Nagpur, a Bharatiya Janata Party bastion, is bemused by the allegation. “I am surprised how people feel that I am an outsider. For well over a decade, I have been staying in Mumbai. I work in Mumbai, I have an office over here, so there’s no question of me being an outsider,” Kale told Sportstar ahead of the election on October 20.
“I used to be involved in MCA for a long time as a spectator. I used to watch matches as a fan and I was in touch with all the people who were involved in MCA as part of the administration and with so many players.”
“For an ordinary fan like you and me, what else can you do besides watching matches? Even I did the same until I got a chance to work as the vice-president during the last election. Now I have realised the requirements of an administrator, the challenges to maintain a robust Mumbai cricket ecosystem.”
Kale, who is involved in the field of education, is keen on developing a transition mechanism for cricketers in the latter part of their careers.
“Most of the cricketers, even at the First Class level, devote so much time to cricket since childhood that they cannot really create alternate career choices. Very few of them can sustain as coaches after retirement,” Kale said.
“To help them enhance their skillsets, I would love to start an initiative for MCA in association with an educational institution to start various online professional courses that will facilitate male and female cricketers’ transition as a professional post-retirement.”
Kale is regarded as a close aide of Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis. But the industrialist insisted no one else “except Shelarji and Pawar saheb has a role to play in his candidature”.
“Only because they asked me to contest for the president’s post have I filed my nomination. All of us have very good intentions of serving Mumbai cricket. Hopefully, the voters will realise it,” he said.
The Shelar-Pawar panel includes political heavyweights across parties. Kale stressed it was with a common intention. “Politics is involved in every walk of life, starting at home. There’s a politician in all of us. As long as the politicians are helping to improve Mumbai cricket administration, their political affiliations should not matter.”