Twenty three years after Sourav Ganguly made a stunning debut at Lords, England, he is now into his second innings, as an administrator of the game that he loves the most. As the new Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) chief, lovers of the game, believe, Dada, as he is popularly known, will create a niche for himself.
Ganguly may have lacked the talent or techniques of some of his contemporary greats, but when it comes to timing the cricket ball, Ganguly was second to none. And probably well ahead of others, as far as playing shots through the off side, for which he earned the adage, God of the off side. In both the shorter and longer formats of the game, the Prince of Kolkata excelled, with the willow. Occasionally he would chance his slow medium pacer, with the right hand, and bring in the much desired breakthrough for his team.
However, Dada excelled most, as the captain of the Indian team. Even his staunch critics hail his leadership skills. A complete team man, he had immense faith in the new talents and groomed raw recruits into seasoned veterans just over a couple of months. Sourav always picked players, just on the basis of their talent.
#WATCH Sourav Ganguly while addressing media after taking charge as the President of Board of Control for Cricket (BCCI) in Mumbai: I got this (blazer) when I was the Captain of India. So, I decided to wear it today. But, I didn’t realize it’s so loose. pic.twitter.com/FgwYmfsyO8
— ANI (@ANI) October 23, 2019
And it paid off. India as a team reached new heights under him. It’s true India couldn’t win the coveted 2003 World Cup under his captaincy-lost to Australia in the Finals- but the team showed its character when two new entrants, Yuvraj Singh and Mohammad Kaif took the side across the fence from a seemingly improbable position to lift the 2002 Natwest trophy finals. Who can forget the scene of an emotionally surcharged Sourav waving his T-shirt from the balcony of Lord’s in front of millions of viewers across the world,
And against the dominant and arguably the best Australian side in the last few decades, Ganguly stood tall in the Steve Waugh farewell series 2003-04 , at their own backward and led the team to victory, that too in style. The absorbing series ended 1-1 . The Aussies surely hadn’t thought of or seen such a spirited fight from a visiting Indian side ever.
There were controversies around him, the biggest being his rift with coach Greg Chappell, who ironically was backed by Sourav for the job. However, that hardly deterred Sourav.
Post retirement, he has donned many roles- of commentator, Bengal Cricket Chief, part of the three member Cricket Advisory Committee (CAC), successfully. When it comes to Cricket, he has stood firm on his no nonsense approach. Therefore, all, including Ganguly’s adversaries have huge expectations from the former skipper.
A cricketer at the helm of the game’s governing body is a healthy sign. As Sourav has gone through the grind as a player, skipper and administrator and understands the game and its players issues more than others, his experience will come in handy and help him shape up the future of the game in India.
An astute thinker of the game, Sourav must have his plans ready. He should get a longer term as the BCCI president, purely in the interest of the game. Ten months is too short a time period to showcase Dadagiri.