Change of guard

Great expectations… Secretary Javagal Srinath and President Anil Kumble of the KSCA.-G.P. SAMPATH KUMAR

Kumble and Srinath have taken over from Brijesh Patel who brought money into the Association, but, unfortunately, could not retain the confidence of his fellow administrators. It will be interesting to see how soon the Kumble-Srinath combination gets into overdrive.

The recent election in the KSCA has been dubbed as a historic event in Indian cricket. Thankfully, the cricketers emerged unscathed and have been given the opportunity to serve the game and revive the glory of Karnataka cricket.

I was following the developments closely as the KSCA was and has been a surrogate association for me since my under-15 days. The administrative skills of the late Mr. Chinnaswamy were legendary and having seen the smooth functioning of the KSCA in those days, it was hard to believe the way things took a tumble towards the middle of this decade. The factional fights between the Patel and the Maharaja Wadiyar groups did not reflect well on an association which was renowned for exceptional administration and also for a State which had produced outstanding achievers.

The need for a change in the administration was openly expressed by both the groups (probably the only thing they agreed on) and with Kumble and Srinath expressing their interest to take a plunge, the die was cast. In as much as both the groups were unanimous about wanting a change, they remained so in amending a rule to make Kumble eligible to contest.

Thereafter, it was a only matter of who was to align with whom but there was never any doubt that the Kumble factor was strong. The incumbent secretary Brijesh Patel had a long innings and though his tenure started off well, the latter half was full of issues. In the end he had to give up his post in order to make way for the young brigade to contest the election. Of course, the efforts to strike a compromise were made by both the factions but with the cricketing legends of Karnataka standing firm, it was either death or glory for the incumbents. However, one has to appreciate Brijesh for if he had taken an adamant stance, it could have developed into a very bitter election.

Now that Kumble and Srinath along with their contemporaries have got their way with the support of the voters, their real challenge has just about begun. They will have the enormous task of setting right what they have inherited from the previous regime and this by itself will consume a good few months. They are aware of this and their post election statements have been along these lines. And with the World Cup around the corner, they have a lot of work to do.

An advantage they will have is the support from the committee. Nevertheless, it will require a great balancing act from both Kumble and Srinath as they have a whole lot of commitments and opportunities. They both have suspended their involvements in other spheres of the game to devote their time for the betterment of the KSCA and knowing them, they will go about their duties as administrators with the same verve and fizz as they did on the field.

The victory of Kumble and Srinath will now provide a different headache to some administrators across the country as it will provide hope for some former cricketers wanting to get into administration. Generally, cricketers have been into administration in the South and have done reasonably well. But the public and the cricketing fraternity in Karnataka will expect something extraordinary from Kumble and Srinath based on their reputation. Both will be keen to fulfil their pre-election commitments and the challenge that they have taken up will spur them on to take Karnataka to greater heights. They have been a part of an Association with great history as cricketers and now they have to revive the flagging reputation of the Association in terms of administration. Kumble and Srinath will do well to remember that Chinnaswamy made Karnataka a major force in cricket administration, while the late Nagraj consolidated this and took good care of Karnataka cricket and cricketers.

Kumble and Srinath have taken over from Brijesh Patel who brought money into the Association, but, unfortunately, could not retain the confidence of his fellow administrators. It will be interesting to see how soon the Kumble-Srinath combination gets into overdrive and what direction it takes to revive Karnataka cricket both in terms of administration and producing high quality performers. One thing is for sure, even if they succeed half as well as they did on the field, they will end up taking Karnataka back to where it once was.

Needless to add, it will only be a natural progression for Kumble to go all the way and head the BCCI at some point in the future. He said in jest that he spent his entire career proving others wrong, but this particular assignment will require him to prove his supporters right. I, for one, am sure that Kumble is one who is cut out to excel in whatever endeavour he undertakes.