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Factional battles add southern spice to tournaments

india Updated: Jun 27, 2007 02:55 IST
G Krishnan

Until a few years ago, the three All-India tournaments in Bangalore, Chennai and Hyderabad served as a perfect preparation for the Ranji Trophy. Club teams and associations with Ranji players from all over participated in these prestigious tournaments.

However, things changed when the Karnataka State Cricket Association's (KSCA) Diamond Jubilee Tournament and the Buchi Babu tournament in Chennai coincided. To an outsider, it looks as a mere clash of dates. But there is more. It was no secret that the KSCA secretary Brijesh Patel and TNCA President N Srinivasan did not get along. Patel, until the last BCCI AGM, was pro-Jagmohan Dalmiya. Srinivasan, the BCCI treasurer, was an anti-Dalmiya.

The KSCA stopped being invited to participate in the Buchi Babu, and India Cements, (Srinivasan’s company) who have a major say in the running of TNCA, did not send its team for the KSCA tournament. Other major TNCA clubs, Chemplast and MRF regularly sent teams to the Bangalore event.

After Patel, the former India batsman, seemed to become less rigid about the Pawar group, differences have mellowed. It was learnt that BCCI president Sharad Pawar stepped in to broker peace and requested Srinivasan to allow the KSCA to participate in the Buchi Babu.

The KSCA will shortly receive an invitation for this year's Bachi Babu (from August 16-30) while the KSCA has already sent invitations to India Cements, Chemplast and MRF for their tournament (August 1-15). India Cements are yet to confirm their participation. The Moin-ud-Dowla Gold Cup in Hyderabad is from the first week of September.

The last time KSCA participated in the Chennai tournament was in 2002.

Elections are also just round the corner in both KSCA and TNCA.

N Srinivasan's group is being challenged by the AC Muthiah faction in TNCA while the scion of the Mysore royal family Srikantadatta Narasimharaja Wodeyar and his group is challenging Patel. The elections are scheduled in the next couple of months.