Legendary India captain Sourav Ganguly is celebrating his 50th birthday today. Ganguly is credited with changing the face of Indian cricket through his in-your-face attitude and aggressive leadership style and thus heralding a new era.
Ganguly is currently with his family in London where he was joined by his former teammate and close friend Sachin Tendulkar, BCCI general secretary Jay Shah and former IPL chairman Rajiv Shukla for the celebrations.
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In an exclusive interview with News18, Ganguly, the current BCCI president, talks about his journey so far and how he plans to cut down on his workload.
You have struck a half-century. How are you feeling?
(Smiles) As such nothing in particular because with each passing year, my age is increasing as is my workload. But standing having turned 50, I can realise that it’s high time to minimise my workload and maximise enjoyment of life.
You have an incredible and inspiring journey. You have had your fair share of ups and downs. How it feels standing here while you look back at those memories?
I really do feel nostalgic. Honestly, I consider myself very fortunate that I played five hundred matches wearing my country’s jersey and I was the captain in two hundred of them. From being a player to then an administrative personnel first of CAB and then BCCI, God has given me so much and I am grateful. So, I believe it’s my duty to help people. I try to help players for whom I have a soft corner in my heart.
So how do you see your life post 50?
Believe me, I go with the flow of life. But I will try whole-heartedly to decrease my work pressure. Honestly, I don’t know whether the endeavour will be successful or not but surely will assess my workload at the end of the year.
Every birthday has its own significance. Which birthday memory is still afresh in your mind?
In 2002 we defeated England in the Natwest Series final at Lord’s. And my birthday was just a few days later so we celebrated that in England.
For Bengalis, you are the face of struggle, epitome of positivity. How did you keep yourself motivated?
Believe me, I don’t look at it as a struggle. Few days ago, during a programme I was talking about how I end up giving hundred percent towards each and every responsibility that comes my way. If I am not completely devoted then I am not doing justice to it (the task). I am also a human so maybe three-four times out of 10, it may not come off as intended but the effort will never be less than 100 per cent.
Has Covid-19 and health issues changed your philosophy towards life?
Not really. Covid-19 is still prevalent but its dreadfulness has been controlled now. Nobody in the world would have imagined they will be battling a health crisis this big but hopefully we are nearing the endemic stage.
What was the turning point of your career?
The first Test match of my life in 1996, the century (on debut) certainly changed my life. Since then, I’ve believed in full capitalisation of opportunity as it only opens more doors.
You’ve been associated with the game for quiet a long time now – first as a player and now as an administrator. What are the changes you have observed?
Drastic changes. First Tests then One-day, then T20 – the pattern has changed. When I started, the standard of cricket was very high which is more or less the same as of now but what has improved the most is the infrastructure. Now it’s completely modern. I remember my first international series in 1992 (Australia), I was paid Rs 30,000 for the entire tour. Now one player is getting Rs 1 to 1.5 crores for a single tour. So, it has changed and of course for the better.
Have you taken any resolution after turning 50?
I just want to stay fit and healthy. And also to continue my work with full focus and responsibility.
Rapid Fire Round
If not cricketer, what you would have been?
Tough to say. Don’t know when and where life takes you.
Your first income and expenditure.
From playing Ranji Trophy. And I can only recall treating myself with that money.
Do you believe in rebirth? If yes, what you will want to be in next birth?
I just want to be a left-handed batter in my next life again.
People are very excited about your biopic. How it will portray you?
The real Sourav