Kapil Dev added fresh energy to the spirit of the Dilip Vengsarkar group ahead of Friday's highly-anticipated Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) polls. India's first World Cup-winning captain delivered a passionate speech, just like he played his cricket. "Cricketers should be associated with the game forever. Why do we need someone who does not understand the game," Kapil said.
Vengsarkar is up against politician Vilasrao Deshmukh for the president's post.
"Does the Finance Minister of India call cricketers when he prepares the budget? Then why should politicians come into sports? I am not saying politicians are bad. Of course, we need them. But 80 per cent of the people (in the association) should be sportspersons.
"Tennis, golf... you take any sport, most of them are handled and guided by sportspersons," added one of cricket's finest all-rounders, who wore India colours from 1978 to 1994.
Kapil urged the voters to give cricketers an opportunity to head the MCA. "What will these cricketers do if they don't serve the game? We know nothing except cricket. We may be new to administration, but cricketers have fighting spirit. We have to build our game from zero every time. If you don't give us (cricketers) a chance, then how will we be tested? How can we prove ourselves? I am confident Dilip and Co will serve the game well," Kapil, who got a standing ovation from the Cricket Club of India audience, concluded.
Late cricketer Dilip Sardesai's wife, Nandini, too voiced her support for the cricketers. "Politicians should first serve their important portfolios well and then think of sports. They should not encroach like this," she said.