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MCA's Jt Secretary Dr PV Shetty
Maharashtra, who were once Mumbai's fierce rivals on the cricket pitch, have came forward to support the Mumbai Cricket Association to gain full member status in the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).
Mumbai, known as India's cricketing headquarters, has produced 72 Test cricketers, gave India seven Test captains and won the Ranji Trophy 41 times. Yet, it has lost its permanent voting rights as per the new constitution of the Indian cricket board finalised by the Supreme Court of India-appointed Committee of Administrations (COA).
Three cricket associations (Mumbai, Maharashtra and Vidarbha) were enjoying full membership and voting rights in the BCCI, but as per the new constitution, Maharashtra CA will get full membership for the first year and later it will move to the other two associations in the state on a rotation basis.
However, Maharashtra CA's General Secretary Riaz Bagwan felt that Mumbai too deserves full membership rights along with his home association and Vidarbha.
"Mumbai CA's contribution to Indian cricket is immense. They produced great cricketers like Sunil Gavaskar, Sachin Tendulkar, Dilip Vengsarkar and so many other big players Giving them a mere associate membership is wrong.
"Even Maharashtra CA produced cricketers like Chandu Borde. The BCCI rewarded us thrice as the best association for our performance in domestic tournaments of 2007-08, 2009-10 and 2013-14. We promote cricket in 21 districts and despite this, we only get associate membership.
"Maharashtra, Mumbai and Vidarbha cricket associations deserve full membership on a regular basis," Bagwan told mid-day over the phone from Pune.
"Maharashtra CA has full membership for the initial year, but we don't want it on a rotation basis. We want a permanent full membership like before," Bagwan added.
'Give us what we deserve'
Mumbai CA's Joint Secretary Dr PV Shetty stressed that without voting rights, it will be very difficult for Mumbai to play an important role in Indian cricket. "Voting rights and full membership are very important for us in a democratic process. To get any grant — be it allocation of matches or subsidies — we need to be a part of committees where we have voting rights," said Shetty. The experienced administrator admitted that the association is batting on a sticky wicket. "We are helpless. .We can only request the Supreme Court to consider our case by taking into consideration Mumbai's rich cricketing history and grant us full membership first," said Shetty.