Sourav Ganguly, one of India’s most successful and talismanic captains, became the 39th President of the BCCI at the Annual General Meeting last week and since then Dada is on a mission to revamp the Indian cricketing setup. Having already conveyed to skipper Virat Kohli and his teammates that he expects a shiny ICC silverware trophy in the cabinet which has been amiss for the last 7 tournaments and that performance is the most important thing that will decide the future of Indian cricket, Ganguly has wasted no time mincing words and made it clear that he means business and no fuss.
Having already met the selection panel headed by MSK Prasad as well as the duo of Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma on the sidelines of the selection committee meeting for the upcoming bilateral series against Bangladesh, Ganguly is all set to meet his longtime teammate Rahul Dravid and will be looking to reconnect in Bengaluru on Wednesday as BCCI president and head of National Cricket Academy (NCA) respectively to discuss the roadmap of Indian cricket’s feeder line.
Rahul Dravid aka The Wall and former India A and U19 coach, took charge as NCA chief in July and he has already chalked out a roadmap for the institution which earlier used to be supply line for Indian cricket but in recent times has been reduced to a rehabilitation centre for the injured players going through some kind of niggle or another. Ganguly is also expected to give his inputs when the two former captains meet. “Yes I’ve plans to revive NCA and I’m going to Bengaluru on October 30,” Ganguly had told PTI.
Rahul Dravid has already found considerable success while coaching India A and U19. It was under his tutelage that the team led by Prithvi Shaw won the ICC U19 World Cup in New Zealand in 2018. Dravid’s greatest asset is his man-management skills and during his tenure as the head coach, he focused more on individual players’ developments and the results are for everyone to see. Players like Shaw and Shubhman Gill have already taken the cricketing world by storm. Although Shaw has been banned after inadvertently taking a cough-syrup, Gill was recently drafted in the Test team for South Africa’s test tour.
Mayank Aggarwal who has started opening for the country in the longest format of the game has also attributed his success to Dravid’s guidance, thereby establishing the fact of how pivotal role he is playing for the development of cricket in the country. Whereas Sourav Ganguly has already showcased that he is an able administrator by heading the Cricket Association of Bengal responsibly for the past 6 years, changing the face of Eden Gardens and Bengal cricket.
Another important feature in Ganguly’s tenure in the CAB was Vision 2020. It was a programme launched to help young Bengal players get exposure and world class coaching. The Prince of Kolkata roped cricketing giants Muttiah Muralitharan and VVS Laxman, and fast-bowling coach TA Sekar, into the project.
Apart from that, during his tenure in the CAB, the duration of first-division matches was increased from two days to three in order to help players develop the mindset required for first-class cricket. Dada had realised that Bengal players lacked the patience and focus needed to approach first-class matches, and thought this change would help them become mentally tougher.
Apart from an able administrator, Sourav Ganguly is a visionary leader. During his time as Team India skipper, Ganguly was very influential in scouting raw talents and this was clearly visible during his tenure as captain. The likes of Yuvraj Singh, Virender Sehwag, Zaheer Khan, Harbhajan Singh are prime examples who went to make a huge mark in Indian cricket.
Sourav Ganguly, in his first presser after appointment as BCCI chief had made it very clear that his priority would be to make sure the domestic cricket in the country functions properly so as to make sure that talented budding cricketers are there at disposal for the national selectors to choose from and therefore NCA might be playing a pivotal part in that.
The two legends of the game had debuted together in a Test match in 1996 at the Mecca of cricket, Lord’s, where Sourav blasted a belligerent 131 batting at no. 3 whereas Rahul Dravid raked up a brisk 95 batting lower down the order and who can forget the trailblazing partnership at Taunton in the 1999 ICC World Cup where the 318 runs second-wicket partnership of Ganguly-Dravid absolutely traumatized the Sri Lankan team. Both had a contrasting style of play while operating in the middle, one was an aggressive and a fearless leader whilst the other was an epitome of steel-determination at display, marauding the bowlers day in and out without letting the ball breach his solid defence even once.
One was the king of off-side whilst the other was a master of on-side, whipping absolutely anything pitched on his legs. Two contrasting styles yet both were so pleasing to the eyes. For every cricket-watcher growing up, this is indeed a dream come true that BCCI is being led by such able gentlemen who have lived all their lives for the country. Many ex-Indian players including VVS Laxman and India head coach Ravi Shastri have high expectations from the duo of Ganguly and Dravid. “With Sourav as president and Rahul at NCA, what better combination can Indian cricket ask for?” said the Indian coach Ravi Shastri. They have been together at a few BCCI technical committee meetings, which Ganguly chaired and Rahul Dravid attended as India U-19 and A team head coach and the two ambassadors of the game would be looking to forge the same partnership away from the 22-yard pitch and hoping to bring change in the administrative setup of apex body of BCCI and help bodies like NCA achieve its full potential.