Warm homecoming for Sourav GangulyNovember 11th, 2008 - 11:44 pm ICT by IANS
Kolkata, Nov 11 (IANS) Hundreds of fans mobbed local hero Sourav Ganguly, who returned to the city Tuesday, a day after bidding adieu to international cricket. Bouquets in hand, the cricket buffs shouted slogans eulogising the former Indian captain and constantly cheered “Dada”, “Dada” - as Ganguly is lovingly known.
They held aloft the tricolour, Ganguly’s photographs and waved posters thanking him for his contribution to the game, the country and West Bengal.
Ganguly, who arrived at the N.S.C. Bose International Airport in the evening, was received by Municipal Affairs Minister Ashok Bhattacharya and Cricket Association of Bengal joint secretaries Biswarup Dey and Arun Mitra.
Ganguly was presented a five-feet long garland, and a bouquet of 113 roses, one for each Test match he has played during his international tenure.
With the media also present in strength, there was pandemonium, and the police had to resort to a mild lathicharge to control the situation. The security personnel managed to whisk him out of the airport terminal through gate number seven and put him into his car.
Ganguly, however, seemed in a cheerful mood, and smiled at some of his fans who managed to come close to his car.
“This is the last time he has come back to the airport after playing international cricket. It’s a great occasion,” said Animesh Das, displaying a poster saying “Dada, you are a jewel of cricket”.
Similar scenes were seen near Ganguly’s residence at Behala, where several hundred waited for hours to for a glimpse of their favourite hero.
Some tried to touch him, some waved at him, and for about 10 minutes the convoy could not enter the narrow alley leading to Ganguly’s residence.
It was the city’s way of thanking its number one sports icon, whose passionate and gutsy leadership of the Indian cricket team it has always adored.
Ganguly played his last Test against Australia in Nagpur, where India beat the world champions, winning the four match series 2-0.