Sometimes I have to pinch myself, says Sourav Ganguly
- Sourav Ganguly expressed gratitude towards all the past and present office-bearers for their role in his life
- I never dreamt I would one day lead the India team and then become the CAB president. And now, I am the BCCI president: Ganguly
KOLKATA: Sourav Ganguly has played most of his cricket at the Eden Gardens. Yet, there would have been a lump in his throat as he stepped on its hallowed lawns on Friday evening. Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) had lined up a grand felicitation for the new BCCI president, and Ganguly, for the umpteenth time, was the centre of attraction here.
"It’s a special day for me," he acknowledged. "Many of the faces I saw on my first day on this ground when I was 14, are here today for me. I feel blessed."
The former India skipper expressed gratitude towards all the past and present office-bearers for their role in his life. "I thank them for their support in shaping my career," he said.
The Behala boy became nostalgic while looking back at his career. "I never dreamt I would one day lead the India team and then become the CAB president. And now, I am the BCCI president. Sometimes I have to pinch myself," he said.
It was an evening when Ganguly’s former teammates and colleagues recalled the days spent with him. Ashok Malhotra, who was also felicitated for being elected the president of Indian Cricketers’ Association (ICA), said: "I first saw him (Sourav) in a match where, playing for Rajasthan, he thrashed our Mohun Bagan bowlers. Arun (Lal) and I knew he was meant for bigger things."
Sambaran Banerjee was Ganguly’s captain in his debut first-class match when the left-hander turned out in the Ranji final against Delhi at the Eden Gardens. "It was not a big innings, he scored 22 coming in at No. 3," recalled Bannerjee. "But I remember Raj Singh Dungarpur, who was the chief selector then, coming up to me and asking ‘who is this boy?’."
It was Ganguly’s first India skipper Mohammad Azharuddin who drew the loudest applause. "I was always very famous at the Eden Gardens and people in Kolkata used to adore me," the Hyderabad Cricket Association (HCA) president said. "That was till Sourav came along," he quipped.
Ganguly’s former teammate VVS Laxman recollected the day he joined Bengal as the batting consultant. "I went up to meet him (Ganguly). He was the joint-secretary then. I was shocked to see him in a small room. But I realized that he was focused on his job and it didn’t matter that he was a cricket legend.
"He is a visionary and will continue to help the game," Laxman asserted.
Cricketers past and present wished Ganguly well through an audio-visual at the end of the function.