Former India captain Dilip Vengsarkar filed his nomination for the president's post in the upcoming Mumbai Cricket Association's elections, setting the stage for a straight fight for the coveted post with Union minister Vilasrao Deshmukh, who also filed his papers on Thursday.
Vengsarkar, who completed two terms as vice-president of the MCA, representing Dadar Union cricket club, has galvanised a number of ex-Mumbai and India teammates and past administrators in his list of panel candidates to fight the July 15 elections against the panel floated by the Sharad Pawar-Bal Mahaddalkar group.
"I'm totally confident (of winning)," Vengsarkar said, while filing his nomination.
Fighting the elections alongside Vengsarkar is former Mumbai Ranji Trophy skipper Milind Rege, who will be contesting for one of the two vice-presidents' posts, and his former Mumbai and India mates Balwinder Sandhu, Chandrakant Pandit and Karsan Ghavri.
Former Test stumper Pandit will contest one of the two joint-secretaries' posts while Sandhu and Ghavri are contesting the 11-member managing committee.
Though former Maharashtra Chief Minister Deshmukh is not a member of the Pawar panel, he is being supported by the group from outside.
With Union agriculture minister Pawar ineligible to contest for a sixth term after changing his residency status from Mumbai to Baramati ahead of the last Lok Sabha polls, his group decided to support Deshmukh's candidature to succeed the NCP leader.
The MCA has been ruled by politicians for most of the last 50 years, Madhav Mantri, a former India stumper, being the lone cricketer to don the mantle from the mid-60's to date.
Former Test cricketers Polly Umrigar, Bapu Nadkarni, Naren Tamhane, Ramakant Desai and Ajit Wadekar have donned administrators' posts as vice-presidents and joint-secretaries.
But none, barring Mantri, have headed the MCA since Sesharao Wankhede took over the reins in 1963-64 and continued till 1986-87.
Wankhede was succeeded by Mantri before Shiv Sena leader Manohar Joshi became the president in 1992 and continued till 2001 only for fellow-politician Pawar to take over the MCA's reins.
If Vengsarkar, who is backed by the Shiv Sena, wins the polls, he will set a new trend by breaking the politicians' 20-year stranglehold on the MCA's affairs at the top.