On the evening of December 1, as the results poured in at the end of the Karnataka State Cricket Association elections, there was jubilation at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium here. Firecrackers exploded as supporters mobbed the new secretary Brijesh Patel and president Srikantadatta Narasimharaja Wadiyar, whose team had swept the polls for the 24 posts. They took charge on December 4.
On Tuesday evening, those same offices were deserted and a garlanded portrait of Mr. Wadiyar was placed near the doorway.
Mr. Wadiyar, who was first elected as KSCA president in 2007, lost the election by a wafer-thin margin to Anil Kumble in 2010 before returning triumphantly.
“He was a visionary. He had great ideas for Karnataka cricket. He had laid out so many plans at the first managing committee meeting (on Thursday),” said Dayananda Pai, KSCA treasurer.
In his playing days, Mr. Wadiyar was an all-rounder, turning out first for Maharaja’s College and then the University of Mysore. “He was a right-hand batsman and a medium pacer; he was a useful cricketer,” recalled S. Vijay Prakash, a former Ranji Trophy player from Mysore and Mr. Wadiyar’s team-mate. “We played together for the university in 1971–72. He was a very simple man. He had no airs about him. When we travelled, we had to carry our own bedding and we would be put up in hostels. But he had no problem staying with the team — and this was in a time when royalty still carried a lot of meaning.”
Javagal Srinath, a son of Mysore as much as anything else, expressed his shock. “As a Mysorean who grew up watching the royal family and following them keenly, I feel a great sense of loss. We didn’t live too far away from the palace and I fondly remember watching as a youngster Mr. Wadiyar and his father during the colourful Dasara celebrations every year. We considered the royals as part of our own families, and today I am saddened.”
‘A crowd puller’
Special Correspondent from Mysore writes:
Mr. Wadiyar had captained the university’s cricket team. A source, who had seen Mr. Wadiyar playing a cricket match in 1971–72 here, recalled: “He was very fond of cricket and even played outside the State. People used to come in large numbers to see him in action.”