The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Pawar clean sweep stops at Sunny

Chennai, Dec. 4: The Sharad Pawar-headed Board of Control for Cricket in India has recast committees, but taken no decision on whether the iconic Sunil Gavaskar ' known to share a rapport with Jagmohan Dalmiya ' will continue as chairman of the Bangalore-located National Cricket Academy (NCA).

“It’s not a signal for Gavaskar to step down.... Far from it... Mr Pawar needs time to make up his mind and I expect him to first have a one-on-one with Gavaskar,” someone influential in the new dispensation told The Telegraph tonight. Brijesh Patel, by the way, is no more the NCA director.

The source rubbished a claim by the opposition that Pawar had actually anointed himself the chairman. “Fresh appointments were made at today’s working committee meeting (in Mumbai), but the top NCA post has been kept vacant. A decision, perhaps, is going to be made before the week gets over,” he said.

Gavaskar, however, isn’t on the newly formed cricket development committee. Headed by Kapil Dev, it includes Arun Lal. Asia’s first World Cup-winning captain had been keeping himself aloof from the BCCI, but it will be enriching if he finds time for a sport he was passionate about till he became obsessed with golf.

Pawar may have set out to be different, but if the composition of the committees (excluding the one headed by Kapil) is any indication, his regime won’t be different from Dalmiya’s: supporters have been accommodated, with negligible representation for the opposition.

Patel has reacted strongly: “I’ve been ousted because I fought against Pawar’s candidate.... The new president has chosen to hand out pedas to those who backed him in the elections.... The NCA had been attracting appreciation.... It should have been left alone.”

Pawar nominee Mohinder Pandove defeated Patel (a former India player and chief selector) for the joint secretary’s post during last week’s AGM.

Patel’s successor is the Hyderabad-based Shivlal Yadav ' a Pawar supporter. The flying time between Bangalore and Hyderabad isn’t much, but the director needs to reside where the NCA is.

Industrialist Ajay Shirke, who heads the pro-Pawar Maharashtra Cricket Association, is the new vice-chairman.

Significantly, the committee to periodically review Greg Chappell’s performance has been assigned defunct status and a fresh one not constituted. Besides three former captains (Srinivas Venkatraghavan, Gavaskar and Ravi Shastri), the committee featured three officials ' Ranbir Singh Mahendra, S.K. Nair and Dalmiya.

Chappell, it seems, is now going to get even more of a free hand.

Meanwhile, as expected, with India deciding against participating in the February 16-28/March 1 Asia Cup in Pakistan, the tournament has had to be deferred indefinitely. A report in this paper had indicated just that.

Pawar gave no reason, while talking to the media in Mumbai, but not everybody will be convinced that cricket reasons alone led to India going back on an undertaking given by the previous dispensation.

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