Chandigarh: Does former India captain Anil Kumble, the outgoing president of the Karnataka State Cricket Association (KSCA), have a googly up his sleeve?
That was the question on Friday evening, after Kumble and his team, including secretary Javagal Srinath and managing committee member Rahul Dravid, decided not to seek a second three-year term.
It came as a shock and may have made Narayanswamy Srinivasan, the Board of Control for Cricket in India president, miss his cup of tea.
Kumble and the KSCA had, after all, been backing Srinivasan to the hilt throughout the recent controversies.
That could change if Mysore royal Srikanta Datta Narasimharaja Wadiyar and Brijesh Patel win the elections, which are likely next month.
For quite a few, they were favourites even when it was assumed that Kumble and Co. would seek another term.
Wadiyar and Patel had strained relations during the former’s three years as president till Kumble defeated him in November 2010. But that has changed.
Patel, who is shrewd and is understood to have a mass base, was the KSCA secretary for years, but didn’t contest in 2010.
At a media conference in Bangalore, Kumble said: “I’m not seeking re-election and this is not due to criticism from some quarters or from members of the KSCA...
“I think a new committee with fresh ideas is needed for the good of cricket. My main aim was to promote the game, not seek re-election.”
There are, of course, whispers that the BJP may offer Kumble a ticket in the next general elections, which aren’t many months away.
Kumble’s an achiever with integrity written across his chest.
After the media conference, Srinath returned a call from The Telegraph and explained his and Kumble’s position.
“It was never our intention to seek a second term. We were clear on this even before the 2010 elections. We’d come together as there was infighting within and we didn’t want the game to suffer...
“We did what we could. In fact, in three years, we’ve done a lot more than what some did in over a decade. What we’ve done is there for all to see...
“Some turned the wheel three times in 10-plus years, we’ve turned it five times in three. We’ve proved what’s possible in one term...
“Sure, the work isn’t complete, but it’s never going to be complete... We’ve done a good job and we hope the next lot will do even better. We aren’t running away, we’ll still be part of the KSCA and we’ll be monitoring what gets done...
“Administering the game has become a full-time job... Anil’s 43, I’m 44... We’ve got a career to take care of, need to spend time with the family,” Srinath maintained.
Asked if the outgoing group would support a panel which opposes Wadiyar and Patel, Srinath replied: “We’ll definitely back the right people. We are part of the KSCA.”
Srinath didn’t say so, but there has been criticism over Kumble’s decision to become the Mumbai Indians’ chief mentor. Before that, he’d been associated with the Royal Challengers Bangalore.
Also, that Srinath is away for “long periods” on account of his being an ICC Match Referee.
Patel, meanwhile, declined a detailed comment when contacted by this newspaper. “It’s a personal decision by Anil and Sri... They have their reasons,” he stated.
The wily Patel must have quickly got down to reviewing the changed situation.