Kolkata rolls out the red carpet for Sourav Ganguly

The Times of India

The Times of India

Author 2019-10-16 12:44:00

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  • Former India captain Ganguly is set to be announced as the new BCCI president on October 23
  • Ganguly was greeted with flowers as scores of officials, mediapersons and waiting fans followed him into the CAB premises at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata
  • Ganguly, however, denied any 'political connection' to him being elected as the BCCI president
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KOLKATA: The Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) rolled out the red carpet for its most famous member as Sourav Ganguly returned to his ‘second home’ in a new avatar — president-elect of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) — on Tuesday.

Traffic in front of the Eden Gardens came to a standstill as ‘Maharaj’ — as Ganguly is commonly called — stepped out of the car, which brought him straight from the airport, amidst bursting of crackers and showering of confetti.

Ganguly was greeted with flowers as scores of officials, mediapersons and waiting fans followed the former India skipper into the CAB premises which wore a festive look bedecked with lights and flowers.

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The occasion reminded many of 1996 when Ganguly had returned to the city after hitting back-to-back tons in his first two Tests, against England at Lord’s and Trent Bridge. But Ganguly felt that was a far bigger achievement.

“That was 30 times bigger than this,” he smiled. “And that will remain the most important year in my life.”

He did not want to compare his two roles — that of India captain and BCCI chief. But “what is satisfying is that when times are tough, people believed that I am good enough to handle it. It was similar in the sense when I took over the captaincy, Indian cricket was in a difficult situation and now, the BCCI administration has gone through a crisis for three years and I have been given a job to turn it around,” he said.

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“We are not finding people to even fill up the governing council because of this clause. It’s difficult to get good ex-players to work for Indian cricket also as all of them are engaged in commentary or associated with IPL teams or private jobs. This needs to be looked into,” he reiterated.

The man who was famously called the ‘God of off-side’ by teammate Rahul Dravid did show that he still remained a cricketer first.

“India need to win big tournaments. Their performance has been satisfactory, no doubt about that. But the only area of concern is that we have gone through seven big tournaments without winning one. I feel that’s an area Virat (Kohli) needs to address,” he remarked.

'No political angle to my post'

Ganguly’s coronation as the BCCI president in Mumbai might have been a logical step for the faction-ridden cricket body, but some would be inclined to read between the lines.

img The former India skipper’s discussions with Union Home Minister Amit Shah a day before the meeting and the latter’s son Jay being named as the secretary would have raised quite a few eyebrows. However, Ganguly brushed away any suggestions of political influence behind his appointment.

“I have heard Amit Shah’s comments on this issue and I do feel everyone should appreciate that not even once has he hinted at any political connection. I met him for the first time and neither did I ask him to influence my candidature as the president, nor did he say anything about a quid pro quo in case I got the position. There’s absolutely no political connection here,” he said.

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