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I am a player’s administrator: Sourav Ganguly

The game is very close to my heart: Sourav Ganguly.   | Photo Credit: R.V. Moorthy

One of Indian cricket’s most successful captains, someone credited with bringing in the much-vaunted ‘killer instinct’ to the dressing room, Sourav Ganguly has been known to speak his mind. The Ganguly era, coming as it did after the dark days of match-fixing back in 2000 when some of Indian cricket’s biggest names in the country fell by the wayside, heralded a new beginning for Indian cricket. It took more than just cricketing acumen to lead the side back to the top, both on and off the field. And what it took is precisely what Ganguly’s newly-released book, A Century Is Not Enough, is all about. We meet at a New Delhi five-star hotel where he is staying and ‘Dada’ holds forth on his experiences, his reasons for writing the book, and how this is different from a regular autobiography. Excerpts:

What was the biggest push to write this book?

Chiki (Sarkar, of Juggernaut Books) wanted me to do an autobiography but I was not keen on one right now. This is more of a handbook for young cricketers and professionals who want to do well at the top level; know what it means to be successful. That is why it is called A Century Is Not Enough.

Have you talked about Sourav the individual, or Sourav the cricketer and captain?

Cricketer, captain... that’s all.

Once you began writing it, how did the book shape up?

The book is not about tours per se... it’s about different situations — situations as the captain, playing the World Cup finals, making your debut in Tests, how you feel, and what it is about someone doing well at the top level, how you react when you get left out, what should be the mindset when there is pressure, because at this level, there is pressure on everyone at various stages, whether you are successful or not.

 

When you are successful, there is the pressure of performing consistently; when you are not, there is the pressure of coming back and doing well. So, all of these stages in an athlete’s life are important. When you play cricket for India, you are always under the scanner. You are always judged by others; you have to live up to it all.

When you revisited all those moments in your career, did it trigger the same emotions in you?

Yes, of course it did. It triggered the good, bad and ugly, and I have tried to reproduce that in my book.

You have also written about the times you were down and out.

I think that happens in every professional career when you do something for a long period of time. You have your ups and downs, you will have highs and that’s why you survive for a long time. It is all about how you feel when others feel you are not good enough. You just have to find a way to succeed, find a way to handle everything. The battle is never over if you believe you can keep moving. As much as you learn to handle failure, you must learn to handle success too, because that’s also important.

‘This Indian team will always fancy its chances anywhere in the world.’

Did that period make you, maybe, a little more considerate?

It did, but not as a captain, because I was finished as a captain by then. So, picking and dropping players was not in my control anymore. See, at the end of the day, only 15 can be in the squad and 11 can play, so somebody will be picked or dropped. Every player understands he faces both selection and rejection because that’s the name of the game and that’s how it works. What is important is the reason behind it and the way it is done.

As one of India’s most successful captains, how do you keep track of the team when you are not doing commentary or actually following the game professionally?

I don’t commentate all the time now but I do follow the team because at the end of the day, this game is very close to my heart, and I follow it, keep track of it. I want to see how they are doing, the better ones — what Virat Kohli is doing, what Shikhar Dhawan is doing — what the young boys are doing, because this is very special to all of us. And as I have said often before, this Indian team will always fancy its chances anywhere in the world.

How much has your view of the administrative side of the game changed after becoming President of the Cricket Association of Bengal?

I think the perspective is different. Obviously, playing in the middle was more fun because that’s what I did all my life. But administration plays a huge role in the success of anything. Administrators guide players and I have played for such a long time, I understand how it feels as a player. You can say I am a player’s administrator.

Very few players have ventured into full-fledged administration across sport, and not many administrators have played at the top level. Do you think players make good administrators?

Yes, they can. Players can be good administrators but it depends on how much time they put in. What you are ready to put in as an administrator is also important.

But what do you make of the general perception that all administration across sport must largely be handled by players as non-players do not understand player problems as well?

I don’t think that’s true. I think non-players can also be very good and I think it should be a balance of both; they both have a place in the system, and that’s important.

And what do you think will happen to the BCCI itself in the next few months or years?

We don’t know, to be honest, where it’s heading. It depends on the Supreme Court and what finally happens with it (the Lodha Committee reforms). We will just have to wait.

uthra.ganesan@thehindu.co.in


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Printable version | Dec 1, 2021 1:20:44 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/cricket/i-am-a-players-administrator-sourav-ganguly/article23279773.ece

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