Gan­guly’s guru gyaan on cricket

Hindustan Times (Patna) - Live - - Front Page - Sahil Ma­goo sahil. ma­goo@ hin­dus­tan­times. com

From tak­ing off his shirt to celebrate In­dia’s fa­mous win at Lord’s 13 years ago to at­tend­ing an event in town in a sharp tie-suit, Sourav Gan­guly has grad­u­ated per­fectly into the role of an ‘of­fi­cial’.

One thing, how­ever, stays con­stant about the for­mer In­dia cricket cap­tain — his hu­mil­ity. Biopics don’t mat­ter to him, and he thinks it’s not fair for the cur­rent ODI and T20 cap­tain, MS Dhoni, to face com­par­isons with him. “In cricket, I be­lieve ev­ery cap­tain is a ba­ton holder. You just pass the ba­ton from one cap­tain to another. It went from me to Rahul (Dravid) to (Anil) Kum­ble to Dhoni and now Vi­rat ... so I don’t think a com­par­i­son is the right way to go. Dhoni is an ex­cep­tional cap­tain; I have tremen­dous re­spect for him. His record for In­dia in the shorter for­mat of the game is the best for any In­dian skip­per,” says Dada.

As for the prospect of a biopic, the 43-year-old says, “Maybe some day … I haven’t thought about it yet,” as­sur­ing that when­ever the movie is made, it will be in Hindi and not Bangla.

For some­one who was an ac­tive player till a few years ago and is now a mem­ber of the ad­vi­sory com­mit­tee to the BCCI (Board of Con­trol for Cricket in In­dia), does he think that match fix­ing has tainted the im­age of the sport? “I agree, the game needs to be played prop­erly. It has got to be clean. There are a lot of good things rather than the bad things. We need to look at the pos­i­tive as­pects of the sport as well.”

The Ben­gal Tiger’s travel tales to the Cap­i­tal are mostly about work, but there’s some­thing that touches his heart when he is here. “I like the open spa­ces here. When you get out of the air­port and drive amidst the lush greens ... it’s the peace and the fact that the city has lots of open spa­ces that makes it dif­fer­ent from cramped places such as Mum­bai or Kolkata,” says Dada, who was in Delhi to kick off the Pledge Against Dengue cam­paign with Apollo Mu­nich, to urge peo­ple to do­nate their platelets.

From be­ing a crick­eter to a do­mes­tic football team owner to a mem­ber of the ad­vi­sory com­mit­tee to the BCCI (Board of Con­trol for Cricket in In­dia), the 43-year-old is happy with his chang­ing roles. “I played football dur­ing my school days; cricket was al­ways pro­fes­sional … you ex­pe­ri­ence dif­fer­ent stages of life. Get­ting in­volved with a football team and win­ning the first sea­son of the league was bril­liant,” says Gan­guly.

What has al­ways struck a chord be­tween the icon and his fans is the mu­tual ad­mi­ra­tion they share. Thank­ing his fans for their un­con­di­tional sup­port, he says, “I feel ab­so­lutely hon­oured to be loved by so many peo­ple. They take a note of ev­ery­thing you do and sup­port it. I think it is a huge gift from God and I thank all those who have been so sup­port­ive even af­ter I stopped play­ing. It has been re­ally spe­cial.”

As for the re-build­ing phase that Team In­dia is un­der­go­ing, Dada says, “I think we have gone be­yond that. We have found some good play­ers like Mu­rali Vi­jay, Ajinkya Ra­hane, KL Rahul, Vi­rat Kohli him­self, and Ro­hit (Sharma) has started to come of age. The tour to Aus­tralia has tough­ened them, and I think we will see good per­for­mance in Sri Lanka.”

I thank all the peo­ple who have been so sup­port­ive even af­ter I stopped play­ing. It has been re­ally spe­cial

It’s the peace and the fact that the city has lots of open spa­ces that makes Delhi dif­fer­ent

Sourav Gan­guly, cricket icon

PHOTO: MANOJ VERMA/HT

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