Sourav given grand farewell at the Eden GardensJanuary 18th, 2009 - 11:05 pm ICT by IANS
Kolkata, Jan 18 (IANS) The Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) Sunday gave a colourful farewell to former India captain and local hero Sourav Ganguly in a collage of nostalgia, thanksgiving and banter.With the well-decked up Eden Gardens, witness to Ganguly’s growth from a prodigious talent to one who led the country with aplomb, as the venue, cricket administrators, politicians and fellow cricketers recalled the left-hander’s significant contribution to the game and dwelt on various facets of his personality to make it a memorable evening.
Ganguly was presented a bat made of one kg gold priced at Rs 2.5 million as confetti was showered and who’s who of Kolkata watched in rapt attention every moment of the function christened ‘Celebrating a legend”.
Speaking on the occasion, CAB president Jagmohan Dalmiya traced Ganguly’s development from a flamboyant talent to a cricketer who was maturity personified.
Dalmiya recalled that Ganguly was one of the rare cricketers who made his debut for the senior Bengal side in the final of the Ranji Trophy which his team won.
“History will remember him as a leader who rescued India from a period of crisis,” Dalmiya said, referring to Ganguly’s captaincy of the national team in 2000.
“His career transformed Indian and Bengal cricket and inspired generations to believe they can overcome all challenges which come their way,” he said.
Former West Bengal chief minister Siddhartha Shankar Ray said: “He retired too early. He is a great man, a great soul, and a lovable gentleman.”
West Bengal Sports Minister Subhas Chakraborty described Ganguly as a pole star, and said he would request Calcutta University to give him an honorary D.Litt “which no other sportsman has got so far”.
An emotional Ganguly spoke of his first game at the Eden when he was only 13 years old. “It was an under-15 match between Bengal and Orissa. In fact, I don’t remember losing any Test match at the Eden.”
Ganguly also thanked Dalmiya for being a “huge support” when he started his career.
A 12-minute audio-visual presentation touched on various milestones in Ganguly’s career, including his debut in England, India’s place in the World Cup final in 2003 under his captaincy, the abiding image of him taking off his shirt at the Lords after winning the Natwest Trophy in 2002.
A novel chat session involving all the Bengal captains Ganguly has played under brought the curtains down on the programme.
The session revealed several secrets only known to the dressing room so far. Moderator Arun Lal reminisced how the “courageous” Ganguly shrank at the sight of a thief in his hotel room, while others, including Pranab Roy, Saba Karim and Sambaran Banerjee, also narrated the lighter side of dressing room talks and incidents they have shared with him.