Sourav Ganguly: Once a leader, always a leader
Indian Express 24 Oct 2019 01:52 AM
The man who retired with more than 18,000 runs in international cricket will certainly use the experience he gained while sitting at the offices of Eden Gardens as the president of Cricket Association of Bengal to steer BCCI.
From the dressing room to the board room, former India captain Sourav Ganguly’s effortless transition into the highest echelons of cricket administration is a throwback to the days of his artistic offside play.
Like he would bisect a packed seven-man offside field in his heydays, leaving fans and teammates in awe and opponents clueless, Ganguly played his cards well off the field to emerge as the unanimous candidate for one of the top jobs in world cricket: BCCI presidency.
Also, the 47-year-old’s ascendancy as the president of the world’s richest cricket board reaffirmed the saying ‘once a leader, always a leader’, for leadership comes naturally to the man who was made captain of the national team when Indian cricket was going through its darkest hour in the wake of the 2000 match-fixing scandal.
Not one to shirk responsibility, Ganguly took on the challenges head on and moulded a bunch of talented, but direction-less, youngsters into world beaters while at the same time striking a fine working relationship with the heavyweights of that era.
Be it forming one of the most destructive opening partnership in one-day internationals with the iconic Sachin Tendulkar or backing greenhorns like Yuvraj Singh and Virender Sehwag, Ganguly was always sure of himself and at ease.
However, to successfully complete his transition from a big player to a top administrator, Ganguly will need to combat a variety of challenges facing Indian cricket at the moment.
He did that as a player, he will very much fancy himself to do the same as an administrator.
Ganguly, who led India to 21 Test wins and the final of the 2003 World Cup, has already been an administrator for the Cricket Association of Bengal, first as its secretary and then president.
The man who retired with more than 18,000 runs in international cricket will certainly use the experience he gained while sitting at the offices of Eden Gardens to steer BCCI.
He also knows a thing or two about the BCCI, having served as member of the technical committee and the Cricket Advisory Committee alongside Tendulkar and VVS Laxman.
Taking over at the end of a tumultuous 33-month reign of the Supreme Court-appointed Committee of Administrators (CoA), he will have only nine months to resurrect the image of Indian cricket, which took a beating following the 2013 IPL spot-fixing scandal.
The CoA chief Vinod Rai is even happy that someone of Sourav Ganguly’s stature is taking over the reins of Indian cricket.
“I have great respect for Sourav. My respect for him grew even more watching him efficiently manage the Cricket Association of Bengal and the fact that cricketer of that capability and distinction will be running the BCCI. I don’t think there is anyone better than Sourav to take over the reins of BCCI,” said Rai.
In his own words, Ganguly’s captaincy was mostly about instinct and being aggressive, and his leadership will again be put to test when he seeks to regain India’s position of reverence in the corridors of the International Cricket Council (ICC).
There is a likelihood of the Ganguly-led regime engaging in a bitter turf war with the ICC since the world governing body’s proposed Futures Tours Programme (FTP) could significantly affect the BCCI’s revenue.
The ICC leaving India out of its newly-formed working group, formed to figure out a new governance structure for the world body, can only complicate the situation further.
Besides there are well-documented issues at home front.
As a captain, he got five years at a stretch to galvanise the national side and pave the way forward.
To fix the issues facing Indian cricket at the moment, he will have time till September next year when he goes into the mandatory cooling-off period.
By his own admission, it’s an “emergency-like situation” in the Board but Ganguly knows all about handling those, having been the focal point of quite a few during his eventful playing days.