New innings

The success of Anil Kumble, Javagal Srinath, Venkatesh Prasad and their panel-mates of former cricketers in the elections to the Karnataka State Cricket Association has raised a lot of expectations in cricket circles. Often run behind an impregnable iron wall, cricket governing in India has suffered more than once from the lack of transparency. Kumble, Srinath and Prasad, owners of 1799 international wickets between them, have the reputation of being no-nonsense individuals, earning them worldwide respect over the years. But their glittering careers do not guarantee them automatic success in their new roles, and they will have to conjure every ounce of their man-managing skills to emerge unscathed and successful as administrators.

There is a common notion in India — justified to a great extent — about sports administration, that it’s a field mired in corruption, nepotism and a window to accrue unaccountable money. These cricket veterans, who have survived numerous battles on a cricket field, will have to work hard over the next three years to prove that they do not belong to a different stock. Challenges in front of them are really demanding in nature. To begin with, Kumble’s men will have to ensure transparency in the day-to-day affairs of KSCA as the association over the last decade has been subjected to allegations of various proportions. KSCA’s image as a stable association has gone down further in the last three years when a split verdict in 2007 opened up an ungraceful mud-slingling between the factions of Brijesh Patel and Srikanta Datta Narasimharaja Wadiyar. Now, the electorate has collectively voted for change and Kumble’s group should perforce grab this opportunity and spruce up the image of its home association.

But their task does not end there. They will have to ensure better cricketing infrastructure in moffusil areas like Shimoga, Hubli, Mysore, and the revival of the now-defunct Karnataka State Cricket Academy, of which Srinath was the chairman for a while. It is imperative for the new committee to develop cricket in all parts of Karnataka to ensure the emergence of talented players who could sustain the state’s illustrious tradition of supplying quality cricketers to Team India. After a barren period, Karnataka has managed to contribute Robin Uthappa, A Mithun and R Vinay Kumar to the national team and the new administrators have the responsibility of keeping the flow uninterrupted. Over to Team Kumble now!


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