'We're all interested in the welfare of cricket'

I have never allowed anyone to use my shoulder to fire their shots, says Kumble

 “We initiated a process of reconciliation between the two groups in the KSCA some 6-8 months back, but that process did not bear fruit. It hurt to see the KSCA being in the news for all the wrong reasons,” Kumble told Deccan Herald.

“I thought if we let things be, it might reach such a pass that in three years’ time (when the next elections come up), we would be at a point of no-return. In any unit, given the sheer numbers of people involved, there are bound to be differences of opinion. These differences need to be resolved amicably, not by pushing people around physically or becoming aggressive to the extent of being violent,” the former Indian skipper added.

Kumble also revealed that he and his team felt let down by incumbent president Srikantadatta Narasimharaja Wadiyar’s camp reneging on its word. “At the end of the day, we are all interested in the welfare, betterment and oneness of Karnataka cricket,” India’s highest wicket-taker said.

“It was obvious from the beginning that the Wadiyar group considered Brijesh (Patel) as the only stumbling block. We had approached Wadiyar and he had almost given us the assurance that he would back us provided Brijesh was not in the fray. We more or less persuaded him to become the Patron of the KSCA, a position we all sincerely believe befitted his stature.

“In fact, we had drawn up and shared a team, which had a few prominent members of the Wadiyar group too, to run the association. It was gracious of Brijesh to accede to our request and stay out of the electoral race. Once Brijesh announced that he was not going to contest the polls, they did an about-turn,” Kumble revealed.

“Their logic that they had a fractured mandate and therefore couldn’t carry out all their plans doesn’t cut any ice because the best index of administrative skills and the wherewithal of how to run an association is not when you have a sweeping majority, but when the mandate is split down the middle. We firmly believed that there was a failure in the leadership.”

Kumble should know a thing or two about leadership, not only because he captained India but also with his brilliant run at the helm of Royal Challengers Bangalore, whose fortunes he so dramatically overturned after taking charge in the middle of IPL II.
At RCB, Kumble handled the challenge of leading international stars from different backgrounds and varied egos with aplomb, reiterating his captaincy and man-management skills.

Kumble bristled at suggestions that he and Srinath might be pawns in the hands of Patel who, it has been alleged, will be doing the back-seat driving. “Right from when I was a school kid, I haven’t allowed anyone to use my shoulder to fire their shots. Why should I do it now?” he retorted. “I have always been of the opinion that if I am good enough, I will progress. I can vouch the same for Srinath also.

“I am proud that I played for India before playing first division cricket for Karnataka because that shows it was my ability that took me to top honours in the first place. I have never had a godfather, and I can’t see myself acquiring one now!

“We don’t belong to one group or the other. Yes, Team Kumble absolutely belongs to ‘Group Cricket’, and nobody else.”

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