Calcutta: Sharad Pawar has suddenly become proactive, giving the impression that he means business.
While it’s to be seen what comes of his session with a clutch of former captains in Mumbai on Friday, it’s surprising that Ajit Wadekar hasn’t been invited.
Some haven’t been that surprised, though.
Indeed, there’s talk that Wadekar has been slighted because of Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) politics.
Besides heading the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), Union minister Pawar is the MCA supremo and came to power by defeating Wadekar in early 2001.
Pawar, apparently, wanted to be elected unopposed and suggested that Wadekar (then a vice-president) accept another post. The challenger declined, saying he would rather lose than “compromise.”
Eventually, Wadekar lost 125-185.
There’s no logical explanation for ignoring the Mumbai-based Wadekar and, so, it seems Pawar hasn’t forgotten that MCA election-rebuff.
“It’s the president’s prerogative… He has drawn up the list of invitees… If needed, Wadekar’s name can be added… It won’t take time,” BCCI secretary Niranjan Shah told The Telegraph.
Wadekar laughed when one sought his reaction.
“I don’t know why I’ve not been called… I can’t answer that… Perhaps, the ones who’ve been invited know much more than I do… However, it’s not an issue with me.”
Asked if he would accept a belated invitation, Wadekar paused before saying “I don’t think so.”
Not too long ago, Wadekar turned down a Maharashtra government award as he wasn’t “properly” invited.
Besides having been a successful captain, Wadekar had a good innings as India’s coach — from October 1992 till March 1996 — and could give a much wider perspective.
Of the invitees, only Kapil Dev is a former India coach too.
While Chandu Borde, Srinivas Venkatraghavan, Sunil Gavaskar, Kapil, Ravi Shastri and Krishnamachari Srikkanth were invited a few days ago, Mansur Ali Khan ‘Tiger’ Pataudi’s name got added on Saturday evening.
Strange why Pawar didn’t think of arguably our finest captain in the same breath as the Bordes. Pataudi has, to say the least, been insulted.
Incidentally, it’s not clear how many have confirmed they will be present.
Under-fire coach Greg Chappell, meanwhile, is going to present his “report” in person to Pawar.
Apparently, he has decided against emailing to ensure there’s no leak from any quarter.
Chappell won’t be sending an SMS to anybody either!