‘A different ball-game against a different side’

Dear Anil, Venkatesh and Srinath,

I cannot tell you how happy I am to hear that you have conquered Karnataka, the Karnataka state cricket association (KSCA) that is.

As a cricketer, albeit at the club level, one has always known of (and dealt with) cricket administrators, most being non-cricketers.

Yes, there are and have been a few administrators (some of them I term as good friends) who have played cricket at a decent/good level, and even at the highest level but, not too many recently retired cricketers have had the guts (the ‘balls’ actually) to contest a cricket election.

One basic reason for not contesting, I assume, would be the reluctance of taking second place; a major issue with most sportspersons like yourselves who hate losing.

You took on capable and very well known administrators—and won.

You knew when you put in your candidature that your competitors had taken on and beaten one of Indian cricket’s most lovable legends, Gundappa Vishwanath. You also knew that it’s much easier bowling to (and batting against) great cricketers on the field.

You knew that this battle will be played against some who may not know what a ‘cherry’ and ‘sweet-spot’ means (in cricketing terms) but you contested and won.

You put your necks on the block, like you did when you wore the India cap.

I do hope, sincerely, that your victory will egg on many more cricketers—who tend to sit on the fence as  they don’t have faith, and confidence, in their awesome abilities—to contest, and win battles against people who ‘love’ the game for reasons best known to themselves.

I also wish that this is the dawn of the era where cricketers will call the ‘shots’ unlike money/political muscled people. I am honestly not implying that non-cricketers have no right to be office-bearers of important and august bodies that administer cricket not just in India but the world over. There are many such administrators who have had cricket – and cricketers close to their hearts.

There will be pressure on you to perform like when you donned your flannels, dry-fit clothing, whatever. Be forewarned that you are getting into a different battle now. It will be much more than pitch and match conditions, form and many factors that you have encountered so far.

You will now have to play a very different ball game, with a different kind of opposition.

Whatever you do, Indian cricket fans will back you just the way they did in the past.

Good luck, you servants of Indian cricket.

Hemant Kenkre


First cousin of India’s most famous opening batsman, Hemant Kenkre was Sachin Tendulkar‘s first captain at the Cricket Club of India, and the proud donor of Tendulkar’s first pair of pads.


Photograph: Anil Kumble, Javagal Srinath, Roger Binny, Vijay Bharadwaj, Sadanand Maiyya and Venkatesh Prasad after being elected to the KSCA at Chinnaswamy stadium in Bangalore on Sunday (Karnataka Photo News)