Sourav Ganguly toast of the city as CAB felicitates new BCCI President
He would delight the connoisseur with his artistic offside play, and he would also send the masses into a tizzy by stepping out of his crease and hitting the cricket ball for a huge six over midwicket. During his playing days, Sourav Ganguly was for one and for all. On a rain-soaked Friday evening, the emotions were similar when newly-appointed Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) president and son of the soil Ganguly stepped on to his favourite Eden Gardens, the stage ready to felicitate his effortless transition into the highest echelons of cricket administration.
Ganguly walked up to the stage in formal-casual attire, a black striped shirt with sleeves folded, a black trouser to go with it as the audience welcomed him to a roaring reception.
The former CAB President was felicitated with a bouquet of flowers and a decorated turban which he was reluctant to wear. On the stage were Bengal men’s and women’s captains Abhimanyu Easwaran and Paromita Roy.
“The image of BCCI was dented, now it is on recovery mode under Ganguly,” CAB secretary Avishek Dalmiya said in his opening speech.
Dalmiya pointed out that Ganguly has the experience of organising the high profile India-Pakistan game and the World T20 final in 2016 at the Eden and that would help him in future ICC meets.
“Under him, the Vision 2020 programme was introduced, renovation of indoor facilities took place. I hope he will continue to guide us in the days ahead. It was an honour to work with him for four years,” Dalmiya said. Ganguly became the CAB President in 2015.
“The perfect man has been given the opportunity. We are all very hopeful,” Bengal head coach and former India player Arun Lal said in a video message along with other Bengal players congratulating him.
Mohammed Azharuddin, Ganguly’s first captain said: “I am sure he will work very hard in BCCI like he did for Indian cricket. Bengal has produced great administrators like Dalmiya sir (Jagmohan Dalmiya). I am hopeful Sourav will continue the good work.”
V.V.S. Laxman, his longtime teammate and good friend, added that as captain Ganguly was “very very special”, a name often associated with the stylish right-hander.
“Sourav the cricketer is special, but for me Sourav the captain is very very special,” he said.
Ganguly had stated before taking over as the 39th President of BCCI that cricket administration in the country was going through an “emergency situation”.
It was a tumultuous 33-month reign of the Supreme Court-appointed Committee of Administrators (CoA) and the onus of resurrecting the ship lies on him now after the image of Indian cricket took a hit following the 2013 IPL spot-fixing scandal.
The situation is not foreign to Ganguly though.
Ganguly 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.
In his own aggressive manner, Ganguly then moulded a bunch of talented youngsters into world beaters and struck a chord with the star players in his side. And as he assumes office, his plate will be more than full.
It will be a litmus test for the 47-year old who has more than 18,000 runs in international cricket when he seeks to regain India’s position of reverence in the corridors of the International Cricket Council (ICC).
The ICC has recently left India out of its newly-formed working group, formed to figure out a new governance structure for the world body and going by his initial statements, Ganguly will not settle for anything less in India’s bargain as the world governing body’s proposed Futures Tours Programme (FTP) could significantly affect the BCCI’s revenue.
Ganguly will also have to deal with the absence of M.S. Dhoni and his future. He has also expressed his desire to play Day-Night Tests, something skipper Virat Kohli and Co. were not too keen on. Ganguly also will want India to win a ICC tournament, which they haven’t since 2013, but his term -- which is till September next year when he goes into the mandatory cooling-off period -- could prove to be a roadblock. But on Friday, it was all about celebrating the Prince of Kolkata’s rise.