Veteran politician Sharad Pawar on Sunday announced that he would retire from cricket administration in light of the Supreme Court verdict on the Justice RM Lodha committee recommendations.
Speaking to reporters after a managing committee meeting of the MCA, Pawar said he respected the Supreme Court's verdict and said he would be stepping down as the president of the Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA). The decision makes him the first senior functionary in India's cricket establishment to make such an announcement.
"I am the happiest man to retire," said Pawar, 75. "The managing committee has decided unanimously to accept the Supreme Court verdict in toto. The Supreme Court has said nobody above 70 can continue. Secondly, Supreme Court has said about nine years cap, so I come in both categories and therefore I do not think that I should continue," Pawar added.
"I respect the judiciary and will be happy and contended to retire from cricket administration. As you know during my time in the BCCI (as its president) and MCA, several things have been accomplished in support of cricket."
Pawar ruled out a chance of returning to sports administration adding that he would also resign from other sports bodies where held a post.
Pawar served as the chairman of BCCI from 2005 to 2008 and as the president of the International Cricket Council (ICC) from 2010 to 2012. The 2011 Cricket World Cup in India was held during his tenure as head of ICC.
"When I was BCCI President the pension scheme for players and umpires was started. We started the medical scheme for players too. During my time, the BCCI headquarters was constructed where we are sitting now - the Cricket Centre also housing the IPL and MCA," Pawar said.
"A lot of new stadiums were built all over after we raised the BCCI subsidy towards it to Rs 50 crore. We started the IPL that benefits several cricketers. In Mumbai, we have built top class facilities at the BKC ground and Kandivli complex with indoor nets. I will be retiring as a happy person," the politician said.
Pawar's acceptance of his fate signals a change in guard that has long evaded the cricket establishment in India. For MCA, which has largely depended on his leadership in the past decade, it will mean an overhaul that will also see a mass exodus of incumbent office-bearers, who do not fall within the contours of the Lodha recommendations pertaining to age and tenure.
The Supreme Court has given BCCI and the state associations a period of six months to implement all recommendations of the Lodha committee.
Pawar added that the MCA will change the constitution to suit the recommendations.
"Now we will first redraw the constitution, get the draft approved by the managing committee before calling a Special General Meeting to get the amended constitution passed. We have six months' time," he added.
"As per the Supreme Court guidelines, I can continue for six months, not beyond that. After that khushi se alvida."
While the MCA did accept the verdict in toto, Pawar said that the association will seek clarifications on certain aspects of the 'one state, one vote' clause.
"We have no objections on the (one-state, one-vote) but the important issue is the jurisdiction. The jurisdiction is entire state. If Mumbai is there, Mumbai jurisdiction as of today is up to Thane. Because of this Mumbai’s jurisdiction will go to Vidarbha and Maharashtra. When question comes of selection of teams there might be some unnecessary differences," Pawar said.
"The voting right goes by rotation to Maharashtra, so Maharashtra jurisdiction will be Maharashtra, Vidarbha and Mumbai. So Mahrashtra team can select anybody from Mumbai also, it will affect Mumbai team."
"We will have to write to the BCCI that this is the position and we want clarification. Our committee has taken conscious decision to accept all the recommendations. The BCCI should discuss this, if possible, with Justice Lodha," Pawar added.
Pawar takes dig at SC
Asked to comment of the Supreme Court's decision to bar individual over the age of 70 from holding office in cricket bodies, Pawar quipped that he taken a look at the Apex Court's official panel for arbitration and hoped the rule was not applied there.
"Above 70… it’s a good thing that they have said something about it..I see the list (of judges) 79, 75, Justice Nanavati 81, Justice Singh 74. It’s a good thing that there are experienced people. Their experience and knowledge about law has to be available, forget about these people," Pawar said.