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From Wankhede, Joshi To Pawar, Political Power Play At The Mumbai Cricket Association

Politicians, who take pot shots at each other in the Legislative Assembly, and at the hustings in the lead up to the elections day, have in the last three decades, virtually taken ownership of the top post in the Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA). And, Sharad Pawar has always been the playmaker when not occupying the MCA President’s post. He held the coveted post for 13 years with a resolution passed at a general body to extend his term beyond eight years. But it was the most affable personality in SK Wankhede, the assembly speaker who held the top post for 23 years — from 1963-64 to 1986-87. A former MCA official described Wankhede’s time as the most defining one in the history of the Association when it broke the umbilical cord with the Cricket Club of India and built its headquarters at D Road, Churchgate. Former officials also described Pawar’s contribution as significant because the Wankhede was refurbished for the 2011 World Cup and a new facility worth over many hundred crore now came into existence at the Bandra Kurla Complex. Manohar Joshi was MCA President for eight years and Vilasrao Deshmukh and Ashish Shelar for around one year each. Vijay Patil hails from a family entrenched in politics and now Amol Kale, who is pitted against a cricketing hero Sandeep Patil is said to have good equations with Devendra Fadnavis. Truly, the politicians love the MCA.