Sandeep Patil (TOI Photo)MUMBAI: In a major development, India’s 1983 World Cup hero, former national coach and chief selector Sandeep Patil has confirmed his interest in contesting for the president’s post in the elections of the Mumbai Cricket Association on September 28.
“Yes, I’m interested. I am what I am today is because of MCA. I started my cricket for MCA. This is the last chance for me to repay Mumbai cricket for everything that it has given me. If I get the (president’s) post, then I’d like to help Mumbai cricket as a former cricketer. If appointed, I’d like to give something back to Mumbai cricket. I will file the nomination form (for MCA presidency) next week,” Patil told TOI on Friday.
A dashing batsman, Patil played 29 Tests, in which he scored 1588 [email protected], with 4 centuries and 7 fifties. In 45 ODIs, he scored 1005 [email protected] with 9 fifties. His most famous ODI knock is of course, the unbeaten 51 off 32 balls which helped India race away to a six-wicket win over England in the semifinal of the 1983 World Cup.
Post his retirement, Patil coached India A, India, Kenya (he coached them to the semifinals of the 2003 World Cup), Oman, and was a chairman of the BCCI’s National Cricket Academy in Bangalore and also India’s chief selector.
Patil was zeroed in as a candidate for the MCA presidentship in 2019 too, but excused himself as that would mean that he would have had to forgo a commentary contract with Star Sports to avoid conflict of interest issues. However, the 66-year-old claimed that this time, “he had been told that the conflict of interest issue won’t arise.”
“I’m told that the conflict only arises only if you are a commentator employed by the BCCI, but not if you are employed by a commentator. So, I’ll continue with my commentary work (on Star Sports),” Patil said. There was another case of possible conflict-Mumbai chief selector Salil Ankola is the father in law of Patil’s son Chirag, but that too won’t be an issue, Patil said. “He was appointed as the Mumbai chief selector before I decided to contest for the MCA president’s post,” Patil clarified.
It was at the insistence of a few senior members of MCA that Patil finally decided to throw his hat in the ring. “A lot of senior MCA members, Ravi Savant, Dr (PC Shetty), (Ravi) Mandrekar, Pravin Barve are all in touch with me. They had all been requesting me (to contest for MCA president’s post), but now is finally when I’ve made up my mind. Someone has to take the legacy forward,” Patil said. According to sources, Patil’s candidature has the backing of NCP supremo and MCA’s unofficial ‘mentor’ Sharad Pawar.
Asked which panel he would be representing in the polls, Patil said: “I don’t believe in panels. I’m just contesting the elections as an ex-Mumbai cricketer.”
Patil's name for prospective MCA president candidature was doing the rounds for the past fortnight, but speculation increased when on Tuesday, he enrolled himself as a voter for the MCA elections, by virtue of being a former India cricketer.
With Patil confirming his interest in the post, it remains to be seen if the other prospective MCA presidential candidates-current MCA president Vijay Patil, who has two years left in his term, and Amol Kale, currently the vice-president of the association and known to be close to Maharashtra’s Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, will continue to stay in the race.