KSCA elections: Roger Binny frontrunner for president's post

World Cup-winning all-rounder Roger Binny is the frontrunner for the post of president as polling will open at 11 a.m. and close at 7 p.m. on Thursday.

Presidential candidate, Roger Binny during a press conference ahead of Karnataka State Cricket Association (KSCA) elections in Bengaluru.   -  K. Murali Kumar

After three years of petitions, hearings and general uncertainty, the Karnataka State Cricket Association (KSCA) elections will finally take place here on Thursday.

The 1628 life members and the 348 institutional members of the KSCA will have the opportunity to elect a new set of office-bearers and Managing Committee members for the next three years.

For the president's post, Roger Binny is the frontrunner. The World Cup-winning all-rounder is part of the combine that is backed by former secretary Brijesh Patel – one that is widely expected to come out on top.

Santosh Menon, the outgoing assistant secretary, is the group's candidate for secretary, and Vinay Mruthyunjaya, a member of the current Managing Committee, the contender for treasurer.

Former Karnataka batsman J. Abhiram will run for vice-president and the retired international umpire Shavir Tarapore for joint secretary.

Also part of Binny’s team is Shantha Rangaswamy, who is contesting to be a member of the managing committee.

Opposition comes from Swatch Cricket, a group that is campaigning for change in the KSCA. M.M. Harish is its candidate for president, and he is locked in a direct fight for the post with Binny.

It remains to be seen how much of an impact Swatch Cricket can make.

Back in July 2016, the Karnataka State Cricket Association had issued a notice calling for elections. The Supreme Court Committee for the implementation of the Lodha recommendations intervened, however, and put the polls on hold.

After numerous petitions from various State associations and the BCCI, several hearings in the Supreme Court, and confusion over by-laws and deadlines, that election process is finally coming to a conclusion.

"It's been a little turbulent, no doubt," admitted Menon. "We were always apprehensive about what would happen. But we knew somewhere down the line that it was all a passing phase. In a way it's a kind of relief. Ultimately, it's good for the BCCI and the state associations to all be governed by elected office-bearers."

Impracticalities in some of the Lodha Committee recommendations had played their part in the delay, Menon felt. “It was all left to interpretations. We're not saying that Lodha said wrong or meant wrong. What happened was that his perception was probably different from others’ perception. No doubt a few of his suggestions are good for the game.

"But there were so many impracticalities. It's good that the Amicus Curiae intervened and he understood the delicate problems the associations and the BCCI were facing. Not all issues have been resolved, but we had to draw the line somewhere.”

Polling will open at 11 a.m. and close at 7 p.m. on Thursday. The electoral officer, M.R. Hegde, has decided that the KSCA will continue to use ballot paper and not introduce EVMs.

That voters have been given just a week’s notice, instead of the usual three, could affect turnout. But it is unlikely to affect the outcome.