There are not many sportsmen in India Sourav Ganguly would be “honoured” to share the stage with. On Thursday at a city hotel, he couldn’t help feeling that way because he was sharing the limelight with Viswanathan Anand and Abhinav Bindra.
At a function organised jointly by Sambad Pratidin and Greymind Communication, two of India’s greatest sportsmen were felicitated by one of the best cricket captains the country has seen.
“It’s a pleasure and honour to share the stage with two sportsmen who are the best not only in India but in the world. Both are genuine role models for everyone,” said Ganguly.
“I have followed Anand’s progress closely and the most outstanding thing about him is his prolonged run at the top. You can reach the top but to sustain, you must have exceptional work ethics. And it’s difficult to match Bindra, although I hope one day someone else will achieve what he has.”
If the concept of the programme was unique, the accompanying theme of combating terror appeared slightly discordant and the number of patriotic songs played seemed out of sync at a gathering meant to acknowledge the achievements of sportsmen.
But nobody complained and in keeping with the mood of the day, Anand and Bindra said they were delighted to be here. “Only in Kolkata do sportsmen get this kind of adulation,” said Anand. “The kind of following for sports you here should be seen in all other cities,” said Bindra.
A small film on Ganguly was screened and because the leitmotif was his retirement, it had more than a hint of sadness. All went home happy despite that because the day gave them a chance to see three men on a stage whose collective contribution to Indian sport is far bigger than tales of players calling it a day.