With the passing of Srikantadatta Narasimharaja Wadiyar on Tuesday, the Karnataka State Cricket Association (KSCA) and many sports organisations in the State may have lost the princely touch for ever.
Barely 10 days ago, Wadiyar had been elected president of the KSCA. He had joined hands with Brijesh Patel to contest this year’s KSCA elections and had swept the polls, winning all 24 posts to the Association’s managing committee. Wadiyar defeated Sadananda Maiya by a whopping margin of 923 to 428. “I would like to thank all the members for electing us. The Brijesh-Wadiyar group is unbeatable in the KSCA,” he had said.
According to KSCA officials, Wadiyar attended the association’s first managing committee meeting on December 5 and had last visited the Association’s office at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium on Saturday.
In 2007, Wadiyar was elected for the first time as KSCA president defeating cricket legen G R Vishwanath. In 2010, he was defeated by former India captain Anil Kumble by a slender margin of 33 votes.
Wadiyar was not merely an armchair enthusiast. He captained the Mysore University cricket team in his college days and was a patron of lifestyle sports. After being elected to Parliament, he was a member of consultative committee, Ministry of Sports and Youth Affairs from 1984-89.
Wadiyar was a member of the Mysore Sports Club, Bangalore Golf Club, chief patron of the Mysore Race Club, the Bangalore Turf Club and also the Delhi Race Club.
The lands on which the BTC and MRC stands today have been donated by the Mysore royal family. Wadiyar used to personally visited the race course to present the traditional Maharaja’s Cup in Bangalore and Mysore. If he was preoccupied, other members of the royal family would do the honours. For many a winning owner, trainer and jockey, it was a proud moment to receive the Cup from Wadiyar. The sports of kings could miss Wadiyar more than cricket.
While a quiet and genial person, Wadiyar was straight talker on issues close to his heart and was a treat for any interviewer.
“I am really devastated. He was such a happy man after winning in the manner we did. He had a lot of plans up his sleeve,” said Brijesh Patel.