Thursday, March 10, 2011

Cricket's hands-on man

Never one to shy away when trouble looms, Srinath, a JP Nagar resident, faced the recent ticket controversy with panache

Javagal Srinath has always remained true to his inner self. He loved to bowl fast and did not hesitate to speak his mind. The former Indian spearhead, who adroitly led the Indian pace attack in the post-Kapil Dev phase and also proved to be an able mentor to Zaheer Khan and Ashish Nehra has now made a smooth transition to administration without any sweat.

Besides being on the International Cricket Council's panel of match referees, Srinath is also the secretary of the Karnataka State Cricket Association (KSCA), a post that virtually turned into a hot seat following the unruly scenes outside the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium ahead of the match between India and England on February 27.

Never the one to shy away when trouble looms, Srinath recently said: “As a youngster in 1987, I stood in queue outside the ticket counter for five hours, yet failed to get a ticket. The system has not changed. I apologise to the fans who were injured recently, but we tried our best to give as much as we could to the public.” Srinath, then, with all humility added: “If any of you have any suggestions on how to improve the ticketing system, please let me know. I want the common man to gain access, but the demand far outstrips supply.”

Though Srinath and KSCA president Anil Kumble have had to counter innumerable barbs in the past fortnight, it is a fact that the two former cricketers have been hands on at the KSCA. “There is no tokenism involved here and we are not merely lending our names,” Srinath had said prior to the KSCA elections, and in a sense he has lived up to his word. “Improving the cricketing structure in the State remains our primary goal.”

The flurry of World Cup matches and the resultant scrutiny may have extracted a toll on his time and energy, but Srinath is keen to help Karnataka grow as a cricketing power.

Sadly, the Indian World Cup team has no player from the State and he is aware of this. But right now, he has to satiate the appetite for match tickets, and as he said, “It is not easy to satisfy everyone.”

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