Almost a month after Madhav Apte’s demise , Sharad Pawar, the veteran cricket administrator and politician, stressed it was Apte’s suggestion to form a Cricket Improvement Committee (CIC) in the Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) to look after Mumbai’s cricket.
“When I first decided to contest the MCA election (in 2001), once I heard that Ajit Wadekar (the former India captain) was also in fray, I was hesitant and consulted Madhavrao. He told me I should not pull out since he saw me as an able administrator and suggested that the cricketing matters should be left to decide to a set of former cricketers,” Pawar said at the condolence meeting for Apte organised by the MCA.
“I got elected and immediately appointed a CIC with Madhavrao as its chief. It was his vision and now cricketers have been handling cricketing affairs not just in MCA, other State associations and even the BCCI.”
Apte, whose flourishing stint as India opener in the 1950s abruptly came to an end after just seven Test appearances due to internal politics involved in cricket administration, died here on September 23, aged 86. Despite his short international career and a flourishing textile and sugar mill business, Apte played the Kanga League, the annual monsoon league in Mumbai, for more than 50 years in succession.
Dilip Vengsarkar, the former India captain, stressed on Apte’s keenness to spot and nurture young talent on the maidans . “We all know how he would fly from Singapore every weekend to play the Kanga League but more than merely playing, he would ensure he had a word with promising youngsters not just from his but also from the opposition [team] at the end of the game,” said Vengsarkar.
“My first interaction with [him] was also in the same manner when he had words of encouragement after watching me play for Dadar Union in 1973-74 as a teenager. It has been a privilege to have known him for so long and also attend some of the famous late-night parties he would host for visiting teams, including the West Indies and England greats of yesteryears.”
Pawar revealed Apte, besides serving as the Sheriff of Mumbai and president of CCI, was visionary as a businessman. “I remember in the ’70s, it was their sugar mill (in Phaltan) which was the first in the world that had built a private train to collect sugarcanes from farmers in the vicinity. He was a visionary,” said Pawar.
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