Chloe the Chicken wandered up to me and queried, “Say, do you think Virat Kohli is right?”
“Right about what?” boomed Meringue the Meerkat.
“I wasn’t speaking to you, Merry, but the question remains. Is Virat right when he says that his captaincy efforts are under-appreciated by former cricketers especially those who never represented the country?”
Popper the Parakeet squawked, “Is Virat right? Is Virat right? Is Virat right?”
I step in before the cacophony becomes more deafening.
“He’s right and he’s wrong, my friends. He’s right because South Africa were and are the No.1 Test side and had never lost overseas for the past 10 years—an enviable record. He’s wrong because the true test of a side’s and captain’s greatness lies in how they perform overseas in different and difficult conditions.”
“So, he’s right?”said Chloe the Chicken.
Chloe is a huge Virat fan and has a collection of postcards of the dashing youngster from Delhi. The ones featuring Anushka Sharma are carefully culled and snipped so as to exclude the sultry actress.
Meringue the Meerkat said, “But, don’t you think that it’s early days yet to pass judgment on Virat’s leadership? After all, he led bravely and from the front in Australia and though the side lost the series, they were not humiliated. And he’s cleared two stern tests on the sub-continent.”
Popper the Parakeet chimed in, “It’s early! It’s early! It’s early!”
“Yes, I agree. It’s too soon to tell. Dhoni had the Midas touch when he started out as Test skipper after Anil Kumble. He led Team India to the No.1 spot on the back of series victories at home. Virat could easily do the same. But we all know what followed overseas in England and Australia. And then MS lost the golden touch at home too when the English came calling.”
“True! True! True!” said Meringue the Meerkat.
“I believe that Saurav Ganguly was the best Indian skipper in recent times. He had the desire and the will to do well overseas. Similarly, Rahul Dravid and Anil Kumble. Is Virat in that mould? Or does he prefer easy wins on muddy patches?” I added.
“Muddy patches! Muddy patches! Muddy patches!” squawked Popper the Parakeet.
“And what do you think of Virat’s statements about non-international cricketers passing judgment on his leadership? Do you agree that they don’t have the credentials to criticise Indian cricket’s latest golden boy?” moderates Chloe the Chicken.
“That’s not quite right. International cricketers are privileged to play for the country. But they have to admit that luck and timing play an important role in their turning out in Indian colors. To paint domestic players as less capable is being unfair to their efforts and feats at the state and district level. After all, these young stars don’t have a problem turning to these very same non-entities when it comes to being coached about the finer points of batting and bowling.”
“Well, well, well, that’s settled. Virat Kohli is both right and wrong. A fine batsman, a fine cricketer, a fine leader but yet to become a fine man,” responded Chloe the Chicken.
“Hear! Hear! Hear!” echoed Meringue the Meerkat.
“Hear! Hear! Hear!” echoed Popper the Parakeet too.
When two former India players almost come to blows on the cricket field with the choicest words exchanged, it makes for headline news.
When the two in question, Gautam Gambhir and Manoj Tiwary, have an acrimonious history, it makes for even greater sensationalism.
Tiwary was dropped by his erstwhile Kolkata Knight Riders colleague and skipper during the 2013 IPL wherein he immediately tweeted that it was the worst day of his life. The offending tweet was later deleted with the current Bengal captain claiming that his account had been hacked.
Tiwary now turns out for Delhi Daredevils.
Last Saturday, the two were once more involved in a public fracas during a Ranji trophy game between Delhi and Bengal at the Feroz Shah Kotla ground.
The incident occurred in the eighth over when Tiwary signaled for his helmet.
The Delhi players were incensed believing it to be a time-wasting tactic.
Manan Sharma, the bowler at the time, had something to say to the Bengal skipper.
Gambhir entered the fray abusing Tiwary who retaliated in kind.
That was when Gambhir calling upon his best Hindi film dialogues said:
“Shaam ko mil tujhe maroonga (Meet me in the evening, I will hit you).”
Tiwary, evidently another Hindi film buff, responded:
“Shaam kya abhi bahar chal (Why wait till evening, let’s go out and settle it now).”
Tempers were raised further with Gambhir charging towards the batsman with umpire Krishnaraj Srinath intervening only to be pushed away by the pugnacious left-hander.
The players were later summoned by match referee Valmik Buch.
“I have huge respect for Gambhir for whatever he has done for the country. But today, he crossed all limits by making some personal comments. I was really shocked to hear that. I did not start it at all.”
Gambhir, too, issued a statement:
“At no point did I threaten or push any on-field umpires. Nor did I threaten to beat Manoj up. In fact, I attended match referee’s hearing post the day’s play where he accepted that he doesn’t have any video evidence of me pushing the umpire. On the contrary, the match referee conceded he had video evidence where Manoj is seen pushing Pradeep Sangwan.”
Buch fined Gambhir 70% of his match fee and Tiwary, 40%.
“Obviously they were pressurising me but that does not mean he has the right to abuse me. What I said, sledging in a competitive way is good but you don’t have to sledge taking your father or mother’s name. You don’t want to cross line when you play competitive game.
I spoke to him [Ganguly] and told him about the whole incident. He was very upset because, somewhere his name was also raised.”
Tiwary also took to Twitter—obviously— to proclaim his side of the story.
The Bengal skipper has since upped the ante claiming that Gambhir made racist (read parochial) remarks against Sourav Ganguly and Bengalis, in particular.
“He made racist remarks about Sourav Ganguly and Bengalis. I spoke to Sourav Ganguly and he is very upset that his name has been dragged in the matter. We will never accept anything against Sourav Ganguly.”
“Gautam Gambhir is not saying the truth. If I had done what Gambhir is saying why have I been fined 40 percent and him 70 percent.”
Gambhir may be facing a ban because he shoved aside the umpire Srinath. Cricket is a non-contact sport and simply touching an umpire physically invites censure.
The Delhi skipper released another statement defending himself from Tiwary’s latest allegations.
“On Sunday, Manoj Tiwary stooped to a new low by claiming that I made racist remarks about Bengali community and my favourite India captain and one of the best cricketers I have played under Mr Sourav Ganguly whom I fondly call Dada. Let me categorically state here that these allegations are baseless and Tiwary’s way of sensationalising things through his figment of imagination.
First of all I am a proud Indian who respects all religions, communities and sexes. Then, ever since I have had the honour of leading Kolkata Knight Riders in IPL I have been humbled by the love and affection showered on my team and me by Bengali community. I have said in numerous interviews that Bengal is my second home and the support of the fans is the biggest X factor for KKR. I can’t thank them enough for helping us win IPL title twice.”
“Dada taught Indian cricket to play aggressive brand of cricket and modelled the team to win outside India. His contribution to Indian cricket is unparalleled. Personally, I made my India debut under Dada’s leadership and can never forget the way he eased me into the team dressing room. Besides, I have picked up a lot of things from Dada’s leadership ways and put them in practise for KKR. It is unfortunate that Dada’s name was dragged in by Tiwary perhaps to gain cheap publicity.”
The media is always seeking sound bytes aside from the mandatory tweeted reactions from fans and websites.
Bishan Singh Bedi promptly obliged.
The inimitable Sardar said:
“This is a direct result of the IPL because of the competitive nature that tournament lends itself to for these so-called professionals.
I feel sick. I watched the TV report and this is absolutely shameful. There’s too much of this ‘giving it back’ attitude. All this while it was about giving it back to foreign teams. Now, this syndrome is creeping into the Indian scene. Give back something sane, not insane. And give back something good to the game that has made you professionals.”
“Look, fines are like loose change for these cricketers. You’ve got to ban them for a few games and hit them where it hurts. The ball is entirely in BCCI’s court.
They need to take to drastic steps to ensure such incidents are not repeated. This is awful for the game of cricket. Erring players must be put on the mat. They call themselves professionals. Does professionalism entail such behaviour? We have been too lenient with our big names. This is not the first time Gambhir is involved in controversy like this.”
There may be a bright side to this whole skirmish.
Just when interest in the domestic game is dying out, the passion exhibited by these senior cricketers simply proves the competitiveness of their nature and the intensity of rivalry at the state level.
There is hope yet and fears of spot or match fixing may be ungrounded in these games. (We hope).
That, of course, is not the point readers and young cricketers wish to take away from the sorry episode.
Shyama Dasgupta, in the Economic Times, writes:
“Firstly, about the attitude of the star players–internationals-towards the other players. A `big’ player will usually play domestic fixtures either because there are no assignments or because he has been dropped. It’s one thing for someone who has played just a game or two for India, but for someone to have played at the highest level with some distinction, the step down is a tough one.
They often expect, and get, star treatment from their state associations and from everyone else. It can get quite feudal, says a former cricketer. Another, also a commentator, uses the word aukaat. Worth. To mean that the stars don’t think of players junior to them as being worthy of being peers. Except, that is exactly what they are: members of the same team, playing at the same level.
Then, about the attitude of star players towards umpires and vice versa. Unsurprisingly, there are a lot of stories of bullying and of being bullied.
A senior colleague had once told me about a veteran international umpire who gave tailenders in the domestic circuit out if there was even a whiff of an appeal-what, you are going to score 100 runs or what, he is known to have told an upstart of a No 11 when there was a protest. It’s fair to assume this No 11 wasn’t an international or a former international. Sure, there are umpires who don’t back down in the face of bullying, but there are likely as many who can’t.
These things, the cricketers I spoke to agreed, just haven’t changed. Two of them–former internationals–admitted to having done the same thing in their playing days as well.”
Cricket is termed a gentleman’s game but the only true gentlemen on the field are probably the umpires.
Aggressive teams win, right?
That’s the conventional wisdom.
What if I told you it isn’t so?
It’s not aggressive teams that triumph but offensive ones i.e. teams that play offense as against defence.
Note the difference.
Why is this relevant?
It’s of significance because Team India—in cricket—have turned over a new leaf under Virat Kohli’s leadership and Ravi Shastri’s stewardship.
They are playing aggressive cricket—always looking to win and willing to give as good as they get on the field.
This is the New India—the India borne of the BCCI’s clout and Indian cricketer’s early exposure via the IPL to the rigors and pressures of international cricket.
They are fearless, they will not give a damn or that’s what they would have you and I believe.
They have something their predecessors lacked—attitude.
It’s not that Indian cricket hasn’t seen aggressive skippers before.
Sourav Ganguly was a brat as skipper—irrepressibly keeping Steve Waugh waiting for the toss and tearing off his shirt at Lord’s when they clinched the NatWest trophy.
He was also extremely successful—but his success came from his recognition that to win overseas, he had to build a conveyor belt of world-class pacers to be able to take on the English, South Africans, Australians and New Zealanders at their own game in their favoured conditions.
Ganguly’s churlishness was reactive; he had a point to make. Indians did not like to play tough or rough but would do so when push came to shove. They were not to be cowed or rolled over that easily.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni for all his tactical acumen in ODI cricket wasn’t as successful as Ganguly when it came to playing abroad.
He was more a defensive skipper; he would rather ensure that the game was not lost before seeking the win.
Virat Kohli’s assertion that he would play five bowlers and let the specialist batters do their job is a breath of fresh air.
If he can find the right personnel to do the job, it is a strategy that can pay huge dividends.
What would Kohli not give to to have had Dravid, Ganguly, Laxman and Tendulkar—in their prime—in this side? No disrespect to the current bunch of cricketers but they have miles to go before Indian fans sleep.
What is aggression?
An essay titled “Aggression in sport” on site believeperform.com defines it as “any form of behaviour directed toward the goal of harming of injuring another live being who is motivated to avoid such treatment”.
While viewed as a negative psychological characteristic, aggression can improve performance.
Assertive behaviour happens when a player will play within the rules of the game with high intensity but has no intention of harming his opponent(s).
The essay states:
“In sport, aggression has been defined into two categories: hostile aggression and instrumental aggression (Silva, 1983). Hostile aggression is when the main aim is to cause harm or injury to your opponent. Instrumental aggression is when the main aim is achieve a goal by using aggression. For example a rugby player using aggression to tackle his opponent to win the ball. The player is not using his aggression to hurt the opponent but rather to win the ball back. Coulomb and Pfister (1998) conducted a study looking at aggression in high-level sport. They found that experienced athletes used more instrumental aggression in which they used to their advantage and that hostile aggression was less frequently used. Experienced athletes used self-control to help them with their aggression.”
What could be the source of this aggression?
Frustration due to goal blockage is considered one reason.
Situational and personal factors are other reasons i.e. a player’s personality and socially learnt cues that trigger an outburst of emotion are determining factors.
Stress can have a negative impact on performance and can even increase the possibility of injuring oneself.
The pressure to perform constantly, poor form and high expectations can all affect players adversely.
It is also not easy for focused athletes to balance their lives especially their non-sporting commitments.
Mitch Abrams, in his book “Anger Management in Sport”, writes:
“Anger is a normal emotion. Anger is neither good nor bad, and no judgment need be attached to it. Some people believe that a problem arises if a person becomes angry. This idea is not true. To pass judgment on anger and condemn those who admit to becoming angry is the equivalent of robbing people of their humanness. Disallowing oneself from any part of the human experience weakens the experience in its totality. Sadness gives a reference point that makes happiness more appreciated. Tension can be better understood when compared with relaxation. It is about time we stopped making value judgments about anger. No one has ever gotten in trouble for becoming angry. You could be furious right now, but no one would know it unless you demonstrated some behaviour associated with the anger. The belief that anger is bad is so strongly engrained that people will sometimes deny its existence even when it is spilling out all over the place. We have all heard someone with a red face expel incendiary words accompanied by saliva and then follow up by saying, ‘I am not angry!’.The bad rap that anger has received has made it even more resistant to examination.
Truth be told, anger can be harnessed and used as fuel to assist in performance. Can it interfere with performance? You bet! Does it have to? Absolutely not. I have helped athletes compete harder with greater intensity for longer periods, motivated by their anger. The issue is not a matter of eliminating anger; it is a matter of keeping it at a level where it assists, not detracts from, performance.
Studies have shown that as anger increases, cognitive processing speed goes down, fine motor coordination and sensitivity to pain decrease, and muscle strength often increases. So for some athletes doing some tasks, anger can be helpful. For example, the defensive lineman who must make his way past a blocker to make a tackle might benefit from having some level of anger. For other tasks, anger would be a hindrance. The quarterback who needs to read the defense before deciding which receiver to throw to would likely perform better if he was not angry. In fact, some research supports this thesis. Players at football positions that require a lot of decision making tend to demonstrate lower levels of anger than players at positions that do not.
Therefore, when we talk about anger management for peak performance in sport, we are not always talking about making athletes polite and calm. Rather, we are referring to their ability to self-regulate their emotions to what their tasks require.”
Abrams has this to say about reactive aggression:
“Reactive aggression is behavior that has as its primary and sometimes solitary goal to do harm to someone. Usually, this action is in response to a perceived injustice, insult, or wrongdoing. This form of aggression is related to anger and is the behavior that gets athletes in trouble, both on and off the field. An example of reactive aggression may be the pitcher who is furious that the last time a certain batter came to the plate, he hit a 450-foot (140-meter) homer that cleared the bleachers. Still fuming, the pitcher aims his 95 mile-per-hour (150-kilometer-per-hour) fastball between the hitter’s shoulder blades.”
Abrams also elaborates on the difference between incidental and reactive or hostile violence in sport.
“Incidental violence is an extension of acceptable behavior. Checking in hockey provides a useful example. The line that differentiates checking from cross-checking or boarding, both of which are penalties, is often blurry. Overzealous players can certainly have their behavior spill over to being illegal. This behavior is different from reactive violence, in which the behavior is retaliatory. This kind of behavior can also be broken down into two categories. The first is the spontaneous response. There are some players who pride themselves on their ability to get inside their opponents’ heads and will deliberately provoke them to take them off their game. New York Rangers forward Sean Avery, often described as an agitator, is particularly proficient at this. So, the player provokes the other repeatedly, perhaps by checking them with their stick. Finally, the provoking player checks the first player one too many times, and the player turns and swings the stick at the opponent’s head. The response, although extreme, was not planned. This is spontaneous reactive aggression and is directly related to anger. Anger management programs specifically target reducing this type of behavior. More immediately though, the league or organization must penalize, fine, or suspend players engaging in such behavior as it can very easily cause serious injury.”
Ishant Sharma’s outbursts on the field in Sri Lanka that led to a one-match ban is an example of reactive aggression. Sharma was reacting to what he believed was provocative behaviour on his opponent Dhammika Prasad’s part. He also appears to take his cue from his skipper’s aggressive nature on the field.
Virat Kohli was not seen to be rebuking his star ‘pupil’.
Instead the Delhi player glossed over his Ranji mate’s behaviour.
“I was very happy with the incident (argument with Prasad) when he was batting. It happened at the right time for us because we had to bowl yesterday and they made him angry It could not have happened at a better time for us. And the way he (Ishant) bowled in the second innings, he didn’t concede a boundary for 19 overs. That’s the kind of pressure he created on those batsmen because of one incident. He bowled his heart out like he has always done when the Indian team has needed to defend scores in Test matches. An angry fast bowler is a captain’s delight. I was really happy to see what happened yesterday and it switched some things on in the right ways. It had to be controlled but in the end it benefitted us.”
Kohli, too, doesn’t seem to believe that he has matured as a skipper despite the historic series win in Sri Lanka.
“I don’t want to say that I have grown as a captain as the moment I make a mistake, I will be treated as a child again.”
Former players are a divided camp when it comes to their reactions to Virat’s all-out-aggression.
Fast bowlers Sreesanth and Venkatesh Prasad were quite enthusiastic about Kohli’s handling of Ishant.
“Look at any pacer playing any form of cricket and you will see that he wants to be aggressive. Being aggressive is in the DNA of a fast bowler. Without aggression, a pacer cannot be at his best. What is aggression? It’s a quality that brings the best out of a pacer. I must say I was delighted to see Virat Kohli support Ishant Sharma. Virat is naturally aggressive. I like his style. Indian cricket and world cricket need captains like him.”
“It’s always nice to know that your captain backs you in all situations. A captain’s backing always builds confidence.”
Former cricketer Akash Chopra had other thoughts.
“Aggression for me is not just verbal aggression. For me the kind of determination and grit shown by Cheteshwar Pujara during his unbeaten century in the third Test was also aggression. Virat might have backed Ishant in front of the media, but I am sure he will not be pleased to lose his premier bowler for the Mohali Test. The Mohali pitch has been known to assist pace bowlers in the past.
Ishant bowled superbly right from his very first ball of the first Test in Galle. There was no doubt that the defeat in the Galle Test was demoralizing for the team. We are not privy to conversations in the dressing room, but the entire team, and Ishant in particular, seemed pumped up for the challenge for the second Test at the P Sara Oval.
His behaviour against Dhammika Prasad, however, was pretty surprising to me. The Sri Lankan paceman might have been bowling deliberate no-balls and bouncers, but that’s nothing new in international cricket. The Ishant that I know doesn’t behave like that with anyone. I watched him bowl bouncers at Lord’s as well but at that time, he didn’t lose his.”
Ganguly is, however, quite pleased with Kohli.
“I am a big fan of Virat Kohli. He is a captain who always wants to win matches on the field and I love that passion in him. It is also a proud moment or all to see him lead a side with such passion. I want Kohli to do better than me as a skipper. But his main challenge will be when India tour abroad. Australia, England and South Africa will test his captaincy. All the best to him for the South Africa series.”
Steve Waugh believes that every cricketer should be passionate when he turns out in his country’s colours. He feels that Kohli is in the Ganguly ‘mould’.
“I don’t know what a gentleman’s game means. But as long as it is played in the right spirit. You’d be disappointed if the Indian side had no passion because they are representing 1.2 billion people. The Australian side represents 24 million people.
There is a lot at stake when you are playing for your country. You want passion. Sometimes that can bubble over but you want to see the emotion and see them really wanting to do well. You don’t want to cross the line where it becomes unsportsmanlike but that can happen occasionally in any sport. We want to see players with emotion and passion.
He (Kohli) plays aggressively and I guess his captaincy is a bit in the Sourav Ganguly mould, where he can be in your face and he can be a bit prickly at times. But I don’t mind that, I am happy to see that.
As a captain, he is never going to back down or be trampled upon by the opposition and that’s a good thing for India.
He will do well. He had a good win in Sri Lanka and few sides in the past decade have won away from home, so that’s a good feather in his cap. I haven’t seen him captain much but I assume by the way he plays the game that he is out there to win.”
Ishant Sharma’s childhood coach Shravan Kumar is displeased with his ward’s new-found aggro.
“He bowled very well but got too aggressive. That is something he could have avoided. Aggression is fine as long as you are not making a physical contact or abusing. There should not be any body contact. If you do that then you are penalised. That is what happened with Ishant.
It (Ishant becoming overtly aggressive) is because of Kohli’s aggressiveness. He believes in playing fearless cricket and doesn’t hold back. The atmosphere of the dressing room is to play fearless and that rubbed off on Ishant too. But fearless does not necessarily mean that you become ill-mannered. What happened was in bad taste.
Ishant is back home but I have not spoken to him yet. I will give him my piece of mind when I meet him. Aggression is acceptable if you are getting the batsman out, else there is no point of being belligerent.
Sledging is to distract the player but there should not be any physical contact. It (sledging) has been there for many years but there is a way to do it. Now that he has got a one match ban, it is not good for him as well as the team.”
Sanjay Manjrekar is another who has his doubts over Team India’s newly adopted philosophy.
In an article for Cricinfo entitled ‘”What’s eating Ishant Sharma?”, the former India player wrote:
“India may say, ‘We won the series, and this is what you need to be a winning team – a bit of aggression.’ A simple retort would be: ‘Why didn’t aggression win you games in Australia?’
What I can’t fathom about these send-offs is: when a wicket falls, it means the batsman has failed and the bowler has succeeded, but it’s the bowler who is angry for some reason. Why should anger follow success?
When the anger of the victor is aimed at the vanquished, it’s a brawl waiting to happen.”
The King is dead, long live the King!
It is, perhaps, fitting that Sourav Ganguly, Jagmohan Dalmiya’s erstwhile blue-eyed boy, succeeds him as president of the Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB).
The deal was sealed when the chief minister, Mamata Banerjee, threw her weight behind Ganguly’s candidature on Wednesday.
Ganguly was only recently elected to the CAB serving as a joint-secretary.
With Didi playing kingmaker, Dada has been fast-forwarded to the corridors of power within the BCCI.
Ganguly had always enjoyed a special relationship with ‘Jaggu’—as Dalmiya was fondly known.
The southpaw ‘Maharajah’ was recalled to the Indian side in 1996 allegedly at Dalmiya’s behest.
It is also believed that Ganguly managed to hold on to his post as skipper through all the early turmoil because he enjoyed his benefactor’s support much as N Srinivasan is believed to be MS Dhoni’s champion.
It was also during Ganguly’s tenure as skipper that the BCCI under Dalmiya introduced centralised annual contracts for Indian cricketers.
Ganguly’s exit as skipper coincided with Dalmiya’s departure from the echelons of power.
The elegant former all-rounder is 43—still a relatively young man for the job.
It was six years ago that the former India skipper made known his ambitions of becoming the BCCI chief by 2014.
Speaking to Times of India then, the left-hander said:
“I am convinced that I can play a positive role. Having played the game at the highest level and being part of the system, I know what it takes to make a difference. At some point, I will find a way to get into the CAB where people have known me since I was a kid. I have respect for them and I am sure they will appreciate my concern for Bengal cricket and the difference I can make. I am in no hurry.”
It’s been six years but Ganguly has already taken a giant leap towards fulfilling his new dream.
It’s not that Ganguly is a total novice at this game of musical chairs.
His father, Chandidas, was a member of the CAB serving as assistant secretary, treasurer, secretary, vice-president and member of trustee board.
In turn, Ganguly has a chance to play kingmaker at the BCCI elections when they meet to elect the new president. It will be interesting to see how he plays his cards.
Ganguly is loyal to a fault. Dalmiya’s scion Avishek replaces his deceased father in the CAB as the joint secretary.
Mamata Banerjee denied that it is at her interference that Bengal’s favourite son ascended to the throne.
“We are going through a big crisis after his (Dalmiya) unfortunate death. Someone has to head CAB. Dalmiya loved cricket so much. So it’s important that the people closed to him (should run the show)… cricket family is most important. My only request to all of you that be together, remain united and take the Jaguda’s legacy forward. It’s not fair for me to interfere. I just want them to do well, I’m there with them like a deputy or colleague. It’s what they have decided together.I should not be announcing this but since all of them are requesting I feel that as someone (Sourav Ganguly) who had led India so many years should now take charge of the role and they should form the set up with Abhishek, Subir, Biswarup and all other senior members.”
“Please don’t involve the state government here. I am nobody. It’s what they decided. Please don’t bring any controversy here. It’s their decision as they all are cricket lovers. After Jaguda’s death, CAB is without a head now and they have decided that Sourav will become the president and in his place Avishek will become the joint secretary till the next elections in July.”
“Anything in life is a new challenge. I am particularly happy that Avishek is coming into administration as it is a very emotional time for him. Myself, Biswarup, Subir would all work together and there won’t be any problems. We have 117 (actually 121) members and we will decide the way forward. Like she said, it is not her decision. She had spoken to the members. For me this is not everything. I will do whatever I can, whatever they want me to do. Will take over immediately as we have a game on October 8. These are big shoes to fill.”
Former India cricketer and Ganguly’s teammate VVS Laxman welcomed his elevation to the post.
“It’s Sourav who brought me here and I’m seeing him as an administrator for last one year. He’s trying his best to take Bengal cricket forward. It’s a great selection and a positive sign for the Indian cricket.”
Laxman is the batting consultant with the state’s Ranji side.
Ajay Jadeja was more circumspect in his reaction.
“Ganguly has been a good leader but administration is a different ball game. At the same time, being a former cricketer, it is beneficial for him. Have faith in him. Wait and watch. It is his new innings and I wish him the best.”
Ganguly, however, will not have everything going his way.
He has already ruffled feathers within the CAB by seeking the chief minster’s blessings sidestepping the democratic process. The Prince of Calcutta was probably well aware that he might not be able to command the majority required.
Derek Abraham, writing for the DNA, commented:
“Two years ago, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) had accused the Union sports ministry of trying to ‘assume control’ of sports federations by bringing in the National Sports Code. Soon Ajay Maken, the sports minister, was shunted out by all those politicians controlling various federations, including the BCCI.
However, when Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee threw her weight behind former India captain Sourav Ganguly on Wednesday, virtually anointing him president of the Cricket Association of Bengal, none of the so-called custodians of the BCCI’s autonomy came forward to slam the move.”
“The CAB is an institution dating back to 1928. Ganguly has, quite shockingly, made a mockery of the institutional process that ought to have been followed. By using his good offices with the most powerful person in the state, India’s second-most successful skipper has subjected himself to scrutiny both within and outside the cricket fraternity.
A joint secretary serving his first term, Ganguly has bypassed many veteran administrators who have been serving the association for decades. Worse, he got Avishek Dalmiya, the deceased president’s son, to become the joint secretary. For the record, Avishek never been a part of a sub-committee of the CAB. If Ganguly is a novice in cricket administration, then Avishek is a fledgling.
To quote a CAB insider, the ‘new president’ has done exactly what his predecessor never wanted — play into the hands of the government of the day. ‘He has disappointed us all by sidestepping the democratic process of the CAB. But there is nothing we can do because he has Madam’s support.’”
Boria Majumdar, blogging for the Economic Times, raises similar points in his post.
He is , however, optimistic that Ganguly may just be the ‘breath of fresh air’ the Board needs.
“The BCCI needs men of credibility and integrity after what it has gone through the last few years. Ganguly should come as a breath of fresh air for the board’s mandarins. He is a face they can thrust forward as a diplomatic shield in many uncomfortable situations. His presence in the board’s special general meetings (SGMs) and annual general meetings (AGMs) should result in him making tangible contributions to improving Indian cricket both at home and abroad.
Can we add another feather to the many that he already wears? With Sourav Ganguly you just can’t tell.”
While the political patronage sought by Ganguly is to be deplored, why do members of the BCCI (and other sports bodies) not take issue when politicians such as Sharad Pawar and Arun Jaitley make the BCCI an extension of their political masters’ rivalry? We also have to ask ourselves that if it had not been Ganguly but some businessperson who sought the Trinamool Congress’ leader’s support, would there have been such a hue-and-cry? If the answer’s no, then why the hypocrisy?
It’s time that the national sports federations revisited the provisions of the Draft National Sports Development bill which they rejected and added clauses that would bolster their independence. Till then, the kind of politicking and ad-hoc decision-making process typical of Indian sports bodies will continue to be a feature of the national landscape.
The Sri Lanka Premier League, in my opinion, has a couple of advantages over the IPL.
Sourav Ganguly, in an exclusive interview to MakeTimeForSports, revealed the reason why he decided to accept an offer from Pune Warriors for this year’s IPL.
“I had completely given up hope of playing for Kolkatta Knight Riders or any other franchise in this IPL. That mealy-mouthed SRK is not my favourite actor anymore.” said the former India captain.
“I was looking for the right franchise to turn to. Kochi Tuskers was on my radar. But the final decision was made by my wife,Dona.” disclosed the ODI legend.
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Sourav Ganguly has retired from international cricket.
Sourav Ganguly has not retired from international cricket.
Sourav Ganguly wishes to play in the IPL.
Sourav Ganguly cannot play in the IPL.
Sourav Ganguly will play in the Ranji trophy.
Sourav Ganguly will play for Bengal only if he can play in the IPL.
Sourav Ganguly will play domestic cricket to stay fit for the IPL.
Sourav Ganguly is not confused.