Lawyer Mahmood Gaznavi promised to do much more for cricket in Singapore after he was re-elected president of the Singapore Cricket Association (SCA) at its annual general meeting in Kallang yesterday.
"It's a painful experience every year to work with a team who are not totally with you," said the 54-year-old, who was voted in for a third consecutive one-year term. "This time, I have a committee of people who are able to work well with me. That gives us the opportunity to take the sport forward here."
He defeated former national player Harish Dongre 13-10, with the voters being 13 club representatives, seven members of the outgoing executive committee and three life members. Joe Grimberg, the association's patron and a life member, did not vote as he was unwell.
Importantly for Mahmood, two members from his camp were elected to the new executive committee. The Singapore Indian Association's V.P. Jothi was elected to the post of honorary secretary, while the Singapore Pakistani Association's Jamil Raza Syed was re-elected unopposed as treasurer.
"The immediate focus will be on the SEA Games," said Mahmood. "We have a good, young men's team who are capable of doing well and we are preparing hard for the Games."
The Singapore men's team are favourites to land golds at the Aug 19-30 SEA Games in Kuala Lumpur, where 50-over and Twenty20 versions of the game will be played.
Their only serious rivals are hosts Malaysia, whom they comfortably beat at the World Cricket League Division 3 tournament in Uganda in May.
This time, I have a committee of people who are able to work well with me. That gives us the opportunity to take the sport forward here.''
MAHMOOD GAZNAVI, after being re-elected president of the Singapore Cricket Association yesterday.
The women's team also have a good chance of landing a medal in their own six-team Twenty20 tournament.
In the short term, Mahmood and his team will also have to find a ground for the national teams which the players can call their own.
The men's national team have been training and playing warm-up matches at the Johor Cricket Academy Oval in Johor Bahru since January last year after SportSG took back the Kallang Cricket Field to redevelop it for community sporting activities.
"It's difficult to get a dedicated cricket ground for the association as costs are high," Mahmood told the AGM. "We are looking at alternatives along with Sport Singapore. But it looks like until 2020 at least we will have to come to an understanding with a club to use its ground."
Others elected yesterday were Subir Ghatak (Mariners CC) as deputy president, S. Santhanam (Millenium United CC) and Krishna Baidya (Bengal CC) as vice-presidents and Manesh Muraleedharan (Golden CC) as players' representative.
Muraleedharan was elected for a record fifth term, this time unopposed.