The long association between Eden Gardens and Sourav Ganguly was made permanent on Sunday with a stand being named after him. Of the four stands named Ganguly and BN Dutt, former president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), are alive. The other two have immortalised Jagmohan Dalmiya and Pankaj Roy.
The C block that is to the right of the BC Roy Club House was named after Ganguly, who would come to the Gardens as a toddler with his father Chandidas, a former cricket official, and then to watch brother Snehasish earn his stripes as a club and a first-class cricketer. From those unsteady steps at Eden to being India skipper and president of the Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB), it’s been a long journey, one that has made him familiar with every part of this cricket cathedral.
The D block is named after former opener Roy who played 43 Tests, shared an opening stand of 413 with Vinoo Mankad in 1956 that stood as a world record till Graham Smith and Neil McKenzie broke it in 2008, and led India once. The K and H blocks were christened after Dalmiya, whose larger-than-life cut-outs adorn the entrance to the club house that is named after West Bengal’s first chief minister, and Dutt respectively. Two more blocks would be named after war heroes at the stadium that is on land owned by the Indian Army.
Their names etched on black boards were put up on Sunday but looked lost in the clutter of bill boards. For instance, blue boards promoting a cement company which shares a surname with one of those honoured seemed more prominent. It’s an act of aesthetic blindness that, going forward, could be looked into by the Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB). Unless, spectators at a fast-filling Eden looked for the names specifically, it is possible they would miss them.
Back to Ganguly. He joins the elite club of cricketers that include Dennis Lillee, Rod Marsh, John Edrich, Dennis Compton, Sunil Gavaskar, Sachin Tendulkar, Vijay Merchant and Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi who have stands named after them. Vivian Richards, of course, has an international stadium named after him.
The Lodha Committee may have given a sense of temporariness to his fledgling career as an administrator but try taking Ganguly out of Eden now!