Mumbai: Vijay Patil, chairman of the D Y Patil Sports Academy in Navi Mumbai which has hosted IPL finals in the past, has formed a select panel called 'Cricket First' to fight the forthcoming biennial elections of the Mumbai Cricket Association on October 18.
Included in his panel are former Test cricketers Lalchand Rajput and Abey Kuruvilla and former Mumbai medium pacer Atul Ranade, who is considered to be a very close friend of senior India batsman Sachin Tendulkar.
Patil is one of the two incumbent vice-presidents of MCA who fought elections to the managing committee and won two years ago.
This time he's fighting on the plank of improving the cricket structure in Mumbai and its surrounding regions like Thane and Navi Mumbai.
He has also vowed to support Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar in the latter's quest to regain the reins of MCA after a few years.
"I had read in the newspapers and in Mr Pawar's twitter handle that he wants to contest for the post of president of MCA. Considering his stature and past contribution to cricket, we will support his candidature," said Patil last night at a gathering of prospective voters and panel members convened to unveil his panel.
Patil also said apart from the subsidies that the association gets regularly from BCCI, it should try and generate income on its own and one of the means to do so was to start a top class museum for Mumbai cricket, and levy charges on fans who want to visit it, taking a cue from F C Barcelona football club in Spain.
Interestingly, two of the panel members, Mayank Khandwala and Nadim Memon, were part of Dilip Vengsarkar's panel and won the managing committee elections while the former Test cricketer lost to late Vilasrao Deshmukh in the race for the president.
Asked why they had crossed over from Vengsarkar's support group, both said the former India Test captain and ex-chief selector did not give a firm answer to their queries about contesting the elections till recently.
Former pace bowler Kuruvilla, who is all set to enter the election fray for the first time after donning the role of a chief selector, said he is doing so only because Patil had asked him to be a member of his panel.
"I said yes when Vijay Patil said he was forming the panel and asked me to be a part of it. But if I am elected to the managing committee I will not accept the post of a selector or a coach," he said.
Rajput, who was the India A team's coach recently in South Africa, could not attend the gathering as he was busy overseeing the BCCI's under-23 camp in Ahmedabad, it was announced.
MCA president Ravi Savant is expected to contest the elections, but has kept his cards close to his chest.
The filing of nominations ends on October 11 followed by scrutiny of these on the same day and withdrawal can be made till October 13.
The panel members of Vijay Patil: Vijay Patil, Lalchand Rajput, Abey Kuruvilla, Atul Ranade, Mayank Khandwala, Unmesh Khanwilkar, Vijay Shirke, Kaushik Godbole, Nadim Memon, Sangam Lad, Iqbal Shaikh, Asish Patankar, Shekar Shetty and Lalji Joshi.