Can Mahmood end Imran's SCA reign?

Winds of change are blowing through the Singapore Cricket Association (SCA).

Whether they will topple president Imran Hamid will be known tomorrow at its annual general meeting (AGM).

The 58-year-old lawyer has stayed in power in recent years citing, among other things, his clout with the International Cricket Council, where he is a board member for associate nations.

However, critics question whether his 10-year-long tenure has brought any tangible benefits to Singapore cricket.

Indeed, 13 clubs, with voting powers, have formed a loose coalition to demand quality improvements.

In June, they called for an extraordinary general meeting to demand constitutional changes, including voiding the voting rights given to four honorary life members.

Imran warded off that challenge by garnering a two-thirds majority to keep things as they were.

However, it seems there is a disconnect between his style and what the common players want.

"We need a set-up that can lift the profile of cricket in Singapore and that will happen only if there is change," pointed out V.P. Jothi, vice-president of the Singapore Indian Association (IA).

Deputy president Mahmood Gaznavi, 53, alawyer who is contesting against Imran for the presidency, is using that as his platform, promising he will do his best to lift the standard of local cricket.

During his tenure as chairman of the development committee, Singapore climbed from the World Cricket League's Division Six to Three.

The voters are the four honorary life members, seven executive committee members (who can vote for themselves ) and the 13 clubs.

Both Imran and Mahmood appear to have equal support, so the verdict could depend on how a couple of clubs decide on the day.

Imran already seems to be on the backfoot, with allies not contesting for top posts or not standing again.

Honorary secretary Moiz Sithawalla, who works with Imran at Tan Rajah and Cheah, is contesting the ornamental post of a vice-president. Treasurer B. Murugamoorthy, another TRC employee, is not contesting any post.

The clubs have already opened their tally, with Singapore Cricket Club's Suresh Kalpathy unopposed for the deputy president's post and IA's Harish Dongre for secretary.

They are also fielding two candidates - S. Sakthidaran and Krishna Baidya - for the two vice-president posts.

The contest for the honorary treasurer's post is between IA's George Dantas and Ceylon Sports Club-backed B. Sivasankaran.

Manesh Muraleedharan, the players' representative, faces a stiff fight to retain his post. Himalayan CC's Vasanth Kumar and Millennium United CC's Santhanam Sundramoorthy are likely to join the fray.

Whether SCA will have a change at the top is the hot topic. But, quietly, IA have made the biggest gains.

Besides Dongre, Kalpathy has strong links with IA. And, if Dantas is elected treasurer, IA will be a big decision-maker in the SCA.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on August 02, 2015, with the headline 'Can Mahmood end Imran's SCA reign?'. Print Edition | Subscribe