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While Maha Cricket Assoc tries to keep cricket going, coach of state Ranji team says sport thriving in Pune

Speaking to HT, Riyaz Bagwan, secretary, MCA, said their motto is that the show must go on and Surendra Bhave, coach of Maharashtra Ranji cricket team feels the sport is doing well in the city

pune Updated: Apr 17, 2019 16:20 IST
Hindustan Times, Pune
Riyaz Bagwan,secretary,MCA
Riyaz Bagwan, secretary, Maharashtra Cricket Association (MCA).(Rahul Raut/HT PHOTO)

The Maharashtra Cricket Association continues to run cricket across Maharashtra – minus Vidarbha and Mumbai – even though the board’s authority is often called into question. The only member who is the constitutional head right now is Riyaz Bagwan – secretary of the MCA, elected in 2017.

Maharashtra Cricket Association (MCA) has not conducted elections since, as it is awaiting an order from the Supreme Court, which is examining the new constitution of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and its alignment with the respective state associations.

Speaking with Manzoor Ahmad, Bagwan explains how cricket is being conducted in Pune and other districts of Maharashtra. The show must go on – seems to be the motto of Maharashtra Cricket Association (MCA).

What is the status of elections to the MCA?

It depends upon the Supreme Court. There is nobody right now to run the MCA. I am the only person who is authorised to take decisions and so I am conducting everything possible. Once Supreme Court gives its order, we will conduct the elections.

How is cricket being organised in Pune and other districts?

We are conducting 500 matches a year in different categories (senior, under-19, under-16 and under-14). If you compare the number of matches in the past then there was only one invitational league of eight teams. Since 2005, we initiated structural changes and allowed teams from 21 districts and 15 clubs in Pune to take part in the invitational league.

Of the 36 teams, 14 advance to super league stage. Two more teams have been added, namely President XI and Secretary XI. The total of 16 teams are again divided into 4 groups where they play three matches each and then semi-finals and final.

What are your views on the Maharashtra team’s performance in the current season?

Except for Ranji Trophy, I must say we delivered a good performance. In Vijay Hazare Trophy, Maharashtra reached the quarter-finals, and we did much better in Sayed Mushtaq Ali Trophy as well. The team returned with the runners-up trophy. Our players are playing well, but people have a habit of only highlighting the grey areas.

How about the Maharashtra women’s team?

There are certain districts like Aurangabad, Kolhapur, Beed, Jalgaon, Nashik, who have women’s teams, while there are two teams from Pune, too. We have players emerging from the state like Smriti Mandhana who won the women’s leading cricketer award recently and Anuja Patil who has represented India.

Which cricket grounds in Pune could host Ranji matches ?

Deccan Gymkhana, Poona Club, Gahunje Stadium, Yewalewadi ground, MIT ground in Loni and Telco Ground (PCMC).

Factbox:

Matches played annually

Maharashtra: 500

Pune: 50 (expected)

Active clubs in Pune: 15

Categories: Senior, under-14, under-16 and under-19

Along with these matches city will also host Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) matches which includes Ranji trophy ties of Maharashtra, Cooch Behar trophy matches, Under-23 matches. The schedule of this matches will be decided in July.

Surendra Bhave. ( Sanket Wankhade/HT )

‘Cricket is doing good and is improving within Pune’

Surendra Bhave, coach of Maharashtra Ranji cricket team feels the sport is doing well in the city.

How well is cricket doing inthe city?

Cricket is doing good and improving within the city, as well as at state level. The need of the hour is to add more local tournaments. Especially in the multi-day (that is, 2, 3 or 5 days) format. It is also important that the top state players are participating in these tournaments to make it competitive, which can improve the grassroots level.

Apart from the Maharashtra Cricket Association (MCA) activities, how well is the sport going on at the city level?

Apart from MCA, the city has clubs like PYC Gymkhana, Poona club and Deccan Gymkhana. These clubs also hold tournaments in junior as well as senior format and there are some corporate clubs also, who conduct a lot of matches in the city. The tournaments in corporate sectors are booming in the city for the last five years. These tournaments also need to be harnessed, so that we also have talent emerging at the state level; hence, I believe there is enough cricket available to play in the city.

What more improvement is needed for the sport?

Tournament structure, talent scouts and opportunities for juniors, these three will work well for Pune cricket. Apart from players hard work and dedication, we as a city need to provide these youngsters with backup in sports psychology and improving mental strength.

The mental part of any sport plays a massive role in one’s career, hence we need to pay more attention. If players get more organised and well-structured then cricket can inspire and improve the young talent helping players to reach higher levels.

Tips to make a career out of cricket

Looking from a cricketer’s point of view, two aspects which I think are missing in modern sport - the need to teach the players the importance of commitment; and gratitude towards the sport. It is all about physical and mental fitness, if you get more professionals working in that area, then definitely it will help youth.

How is the Maharashtra team performing?

The team had a forgettable multi-day season, but our performance in white-ball cricket was very good. The team played the quarterfinal of the Vijay-Hazare trophy and reached to the finals of the Sayed Mushtaq Ali Trophy recently held in Indore.

PUNE CRICKET CALENDAR

January to May

Total teams: 36

21 districts and 15 clubs will play invitational leagues matches under Maharashtra Cricket Association (2005 amendment)

June to September

Off- season/Rainy season

October -January

Total teams: 16

14 teams from invitational leagues matches qualify to super league stage. Two more teams are added with the name of President XI and Secretary XI. Total sixteen teams again divided into four groups where they play three matches each (quarter-finals) and then semi-finals and final.

Categories played: Senior, under- 14, under-18 and under-16

Schedule for Ranji Trophy ties of Maharashtra, Cooch Behar trophy matches and Under-23 matches will be decided in July.

First Published: Apr 15, 2019 16:31 IST