Kiran Powar: Now, we will hear the cricketers' side too
Former Mumbai cricketer Kiran Powar is surprised to win an unopposed slot as the Indian Cricketers’ Association’s male representative nominee for the Mumbai Cricket Association’s Apex Council.
Kiran, 43, the older brother of former India offie Ramesh, had set his sights on the position ever since it made the constitution. “This is a fantastic opportunity for cricketers to raise their issues. My past experiences and also the way the cricketers have been treated made me file my nomination. Now, the cricketers’ side of the story will also be heard. Previously, it wasn’t the case for most of them. I want to be the voice of Mumbai cricketers and bring up their issues before the MCA committee,” Kiran told mid-day yesterday.
Kiran is upset with the way Sulakshan Kulkarni’s Mumbai coach appointment was handled by the MCA. Kulkarni was the Cricket Improvement Committee’s top choice as Mumbai coach and was accordingly issued an appointment letter. However, upon his return from England after coaching the Indian physically challenged cricket team, Kulkarni was offered lesser remuneration and that led him to not take up the coach’s job.
“MCA is known because of its cricketers. It pained me when I read that ex-cricketers have to stand in queue to collect their passes for matches. I will definitely take up this issue. Also, the way Sulakshan Kulkarni’s appointment [as Mumbai coach] was handled, was shameful. The person has served Mumbai cricket for so long and this is how you treat him? He had just returned after winning the World Cup for the Indian disabled team,” he added.
‘Focus on grassroot level’
Kiran, who has previously worked as Mumbai U-16 coach and the academy coach at the Bandra Kurla Complex club, said his main focus is to improve grassroot cricket. “I want to improve things at the grassroot level, provide better infrastructure and up the standard of coaching. I want to get all the quality cricketers who have played for Mumbai to contribute towards the development of Mumbai cricket, especially at the grassroot level,” he said.
Junior and U-19 cricket is also Kiran’s priority. “Junior cricket has to be monitored properly. School tournaments should be watched by good selectors. There is also a need to have a tournament especially for the U-19 boys. Right now, they play only one tournament, which is the Mahindra Shield that serves as a selection tournament for the Mumbai U-19 team. There should be more opportunities for the boys who don’t get selected for the U-19 team,” he said.
Apart from having more tournaments for the corporates to boost jobs, remuneration for coaches and selectors is an area of concern for Kiran. “Selectors and coaches need to be paid handsomely. There has to be more investment made for cricket and its personnel. Only then we can get better results,” said Kiran, who played for Mumbai from 1997 to 2000 before playing as professional for Goa, Assam and Baroda.
Kiran said he will also bat for bettering pension and medical benefits to Mumbai cricketers and their immediate family.
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