By Nadim Memon | Opening Doorz Editorial | February 23, 2019

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Strange things are happening in the Mumbai Cricket Association despite the current composition of the committee being warned against taking any major decision by the honourable High Court of Mumbai.

Opening Doorz is in possession of a letter written by the MCA signed by C S Naik (CEO) and Dr. Unmesh Khanvilkar granting permission to a private body, IMG Reliance, to conduct Mumbai Inter-schools Cricket League 2018-19.

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Mind you, IMG Reliance has not yet written a formal letter to the MCA; they have only sent an email as mentioned in the MCA letter [read the letter here], requesting permission. This email was sent on February 13, 2019 and MCA granted them permission on February 15, 2019. In just two days! Moreover, the 2018-19 season is at its fag end.

The cricketing circle is aghast at the speed with which these two gentlemen have given the permission disregarding their own policy/rules. There is a process in place. MCA has to first discuss the matter with the Cricket Improvement Committee (CIC) and the Tournament Committee and then the Managing Committee sits together before deciding on the future course of action.

Mumbai Schools Sports Association (MSSA) has been conducting tournament for Schools Cricket (Harris Shield and Giles Shield) since the last 125 years. This is apart from sports in various other disciplines they have been conducting successfully for school children. This year MSSA, completed both Harris and Giles Shield tournament with 160 and 155 schools participating respectively!

MSSA is the founder member of Mumbai Cricket Association and today MSSA has more than 450 schools as its members.

Mumbai Cricket Association has no right to give permission to a private body to organise a school tournament. This is illegal and highly foolish. To give rights to any private body is the sole discretion of the MSSA!

The present MCA Committee is temporary, and is allowed only to take decisions for day- to-day work and help out with issues of the staff and their workers, apart from disbursing their salaries.

It is believed that the two who signed the letter are under pressure from IMG Reliance and their politician friends. The Event Management Company also has a son of one of the MCA Committee members who is working with them and this is in direct conflict of interest.

MCA giving them permission overnight sends wrong signals of those currently in the MCA, who are misusing their authority given by the court and is also a slap in the face for the High Court Order.

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“MCA should first concentrate on completing their own tournaments which is not done on time.” says Jayantilal Kenia

Former India Cricketer Jayantilal Kenia is wondering who gave MCA the authority to give permission in an area where they have no right. “When MSSA is the parent body of the Mumbai Schools and has been organising school tournament since the past 125 years, and doing an excellent job, MCA has no business to interfere in their matter. MCA should first concentrate on completing their own tournaments which is not done on time. They should immediately withdraw the permission given to the private event management. MSSA have given so many cricketers to India and they are the pillar of Mumbai Cricket.”

A former Test Cricketer and India Captain, too is aghast at this. “MSSA has been conducting school tournament for so long and they have the rights to grant permission. Moreover, how can permission be given in a day when there is a process in place. Finally, the tournament is of no use as the children are now preparing for their final exams. This is just a marketing strategy for the upcoming IPL where they have their team,” he says.

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“MCA has no right to interfere in matters of the MSSA Inter-school tournaments. There is no value in giving this tournament to an event management company because they have no interest in the young players’ welfare,” says Vidyadhar Paradkar

Vidyadhar Paradkar, one of the senior-most coaches of Mumbai who is also affiliated to MCA and who has coached Mumbai stalwarts Wasim Jaffer and Zaheer Khan says, “MCA has no right to interfere in matters of the MSSA Inter-school tournaments. There is no value in giving this tournament to an event management company because they have no interest in the young players’ welfare. All they want to do is build up their publicity campaign.”

Paradkar further adds: “In the last 3-4 years, the standard of Mumbai Schools Cricket has taken the upward graph, that is why this private company is trying to take advantage of the boys. This is exam time and it is not right to do this. MSSA prepares their calendar keeping the children’s’ exams in mind.”

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“Children are now preparing for their final exams and without discussing with the CIC and Tournament Committee how did they give permission to a private event management company?” asks Sulakshan Kulkarni

Sulakshan Kulkarni former Mumbai Ranji player and Coach too is surprised. “MCA has no rights to give permission for any inter-school tournament. MCA should first organise clubs and office/college tournament and ensure that they are completed. MSSA has all Mumbai schools as its members. All such tournaments should be allowed only by MSSA. Children are now preparing for their final exams and without discussing with the CIC and Tournament Committee how did they give permission to a private event management company?” he questions.

The question remains: What is the MCA trying to do? The calendar year is almost over and most tournaments are in its final round and here we have a brand new tournament being sprung up on the kids who are busy with their books and will have to ‘pad up’ for publicity for IMG Reliance.

Hopefully, better sense will prevail within the MCA.

(Nadim Memon is a man of the maidans. He is a curator, a sports lover, a cricketer, a footballer and more, importantly a fierce protector of maidans for the younger generation!)

Also Read: Sack Ajit Agarkar

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