Kolkata: For someone who enjoys the spotlight on him, Sourav Ganguly has had a relatively quiet last two years as the president of Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) - thanks to the pandemic. It was hence no surprise to see the ‘Dada’ of Indian cricket getting hands-on during the past week as the IPL returned to the Eden Gardens with a full capacity crowd after the 2019 season.
The last time Ganguly was as proactive on his home turf was when India hosted it’s first day-night Test in the city against Bangladesh - with him being a strong advocate of the pink ball Test to sustain the appeal of the longer format - was soon after he was annointed on the hot seat in November, 2019. The two and-a-half years of his tenure since then had been a mixed bag and there is a possibility that this can well be the last big event that he is overseeing as the BCCI supremo before stepping down at the end of three years in October.
The speculation as to what his next role will be has already begun: will he be in the fray to replace Greg Barclay, the chairman of International Cricket Council (ICC), once the New Zealander’s term ends at the at end of this year? Or will the Supreme Court acede to the BCCI’s appeal to relax the cooling off period, which may allow him to continue for another three-year term?
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While it’s all a matter of ifs and buts, Ganguly’s concern for the moment - along with that of hosting association Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) - has been to ensure that they put their best foot forward from the quality of the wicket to be battle-ready to resume the action if the threat of rains over the two match days becomes a reality. The way the wicket played on Tuesday night (the same will be used for the Eliminator) has pleased the former Indian captain as he told the local media that a even a 200-plus total is chaseable here.
It’s the possibility of rains that has kept him and the state officials, with whom he worked closely during his stint as the CAB head, on tenterhooks for the past three days. A sharp spell of rain on Tuesday afternoon brought Ganguly back scurrying as he went out to take a close look if the wicket is fine as he exuded confidence that the ground staff is well-equipped to ensure resumption of play at the earliest in case there are any more rains.
A visit to the venue when the BCCI president is there is good enough to sense that extra buzz. An entourage of at least 10 people, including the CAB president Abhishek Dalmiya, had been accompanying him as Ganguly alternates between a quick debriefing session with the local officials, the visiting police team or an urgent chat with the IPL officials.
And yes, it’s not the only thing that he has been tied up with. Only on Tuesday morning, he was present at a city hotel close to the stadium to announce his role as the brand ambassador of a company (at 49, he is easily the most trusted face in the endorsement sector of the state) and a contingent of mediapersons turned up there as well. Their pursuit for an interesting byte did not go unrewarded as Ganguly, who is also the co-owner of one of the football teams in the Indian Super League (ISL), confided that he was actually involved in talks with the Manchester United management to acquire stakes in East Bengal - one of the century-old clubs in the city.
Now, how is that for multi-tasking?