Former players object the appointment of MCA office-bearers

Six former Maharashtra captains and other former cricketers from the state objected the appointment of the new office-bearers of the Maharashtra Cricket Association, including president Abhay Apte's.

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Almost 100 former first-class cricketers from Maharashtra have questioned the appointment of Maharashtra Cricket Association's (MCA) office-bearers.

Six former Maharashtra captains – Yajurvindra Singh, Raju Bhalekar, Vijay Shetty, Milind Gunjal, Shantanu Sugwekar and Nilima Joglekar (fomer women's team captain) – interacted with the media in Pune on Saturday. Besides citing various instances of being "ill-treated" by the MCA, the captains and some former cricketers detailed their objections about the new office-bearers, especially president Abhay Apte.

"Anil Walhekar (former left-arm spinner) has studied the Lodha committee recommendations and the existing MCA constitution carefully. Based on his analysis, all of us are convinced that the new appointments of president, two vice-presidents and the secretary are not in accordance even with the existing MCA constitution, let alone Lodha committee reforms," said Gunjal, a Maharashtra cricket stalwart.

"The MCA constitution states that no person can be a president if he has not completed two full terms as a managing committee member or has been an office-bearer in the past. The rules also specify in case of the president's post being vacated, an SGM has to be convened within fifteen days to fill up the posts. None of these conditions have been adhered to while appointing the new set of office-bearers. It has also been noticed that the ineligible office-bearers were proposers and seconders for their replacements."

According to the Supreme Court judgment on January 2, four principal office-bearers of MCA – president Shirke, secretary Sudhakar Shanbag and vice-presidents Kamlesh Thakkar and Dhanpal Shah – were ceased as office-bearers. As a result, the MCA managing committee on January 6 appointed Apte as president and Riyaz Bagwan as secretary.

Apte, a lawyer, defended the managing committee's decision. "Since the president, both vice-president and secretary were ineligible to continue, there was no one to call the SGM, so the managing committee resorted to a clause in the MCA constitution that says in case of a contingency, the managing committee should fill up the vacant posts," said Apte. "And with the MCA set to host two international games, including Pune's first Test, soon after the Supreme Court judgment, the managing committee had to fill up the posts."

Gunjal also hoped to revitalise the player association that he along with other former cricketers had formed in 2004. "The charity commissioner had then asked us to get the parent body's permission but MCA had then verbally dismissed our plea," he said.

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