Maharashtra hasn’t won the Ranji Trophy for ages now; my goal is to ensure our team wins’: MCA president Rohit Pawar

Grand-nephew of Nationalist Congress Party’s chief Sharad Pawar, Rohit Pawar, was recently elected unopposed as Maharashtra Cricket Association (MCA) president. The 37-year-old is an MLA from Maharashtra and spoke to The Indian Express, about his plans for cricket in the state, and on whether cricketers should take up administration as well as if politicians ought to enter cricket.


Your nomination as Maharashtra Cricket Association’s president came out of the blue?
I came into politics the same way, and no one expected me to enter politics. Sometimes it is important to do unexpected things. As far as this MCA election is concerned, it was unexpected, I like cricket and am passionate about it. I spoke to (Sharad) Pawar sahab, it was my decision to come into it. Then he said, it would be a good decision, he showed us the way.

Were you in two minds whether this is the right time or not?
I’m not someone who is in two minds while making a decision. When I thought I needed to enter politics, I got into it. Similarly, in cricket, when I felt I needed to enter, I just did.

Does having the Pawar surname come with baggage and expectations?
Having the Pawar surname gives us a vision. He did a lot for Mumbai Cricket Association. He did much for other sports too like wrestling, kabbadi. He built infrastructure and gave opportunities to players. I will not call it a baggage.

You must have identified areas you want to work on?
We need to increase the Gahunje stadium capacity, but there have been too many legal issues which we need to sort out. Players need infrastructure, be it playing cricket especially during monsoon, or their accommodation. Be it physiotherapy, or their rehabs. We will be taking help from former players and try to see which are the areas where we need to improve. For me youngsters who are playing should get the opportunity to showcase their talent. We haven’t won the Ranji Trophy for ages now, my goal is to ensure that our team wins, going ahead. At the same time a proper cricketing calendar is the need. Plus we want to restart the Maharashtra Premier League. At the same time we want to strengthen our women’s team, we need a ground for them too which we will look for.

Do politicians make good cricket administrators?
Politicians have patience, we know which man is good for the association and which one is doing politics. We have a knack of understanding which people are suited for which job. Everyone has different skills and we know how and where to use them. Some will have good expertise in finance, some have good cricket knowledge. As a politician we are elected by getting votes of 3.5 lakh people, so we have a knack of knowing things.

Pawar let cricketers handle cricket and he handled administration’s job. What is your take?
Aisa he hona chahiye. (It should be this way.) It’s simple, let the cricketers handle cricket and let the administrator handle administration jobs. I feel if you think that you know everything then your growth is restricted and if one wants to grow, then individuals will have to give importance to those people who are good in their respective field. Coming from a political background helps to get things moving faster at ground level. It helps the association also as we have contacts and can speed up things.

What is the one thing you learnt from your grand uncle?
Transparency and building infrastructure in cricket. Giving a platform to youth to showcase their talent. It was under him that the IPL kicked off. Those who are retired, use their expertise as coach, mentor, selectors or in any role, don’t waste them. Like I want to see if we can give pension to our players who have played less than ten Ranji Trophy games. At the same time we need to look at areas where we can provide medical support to players, if any insurance can be provided to the family members.

We have too many districts and the volume is bigger. Our focus will be on finding the right talent. There are many talented players, especially in tennis ball cricket. We will tell our districts and clubs that if they find them they must inform us. We will see who has the potential to play with leather balls.

What do you think of politicians from various different parties being part of BCCI?
Politics will not mess with cricket. How that is to be managed, we will handle it.

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