Ganguly feted by a thankful city
A diamond ring, a laptop, a silver plaque, a bouquet of 113 roses representing each Test he has played in - Sourav Ganguly was Monday showered with gifts by eminent personalities as the city expressed its love for the home-bred cricketing icon.
Barely two weeks after he bowed out of international cricket, the who's who of Kolkata - film stars, writers, industrialists, danseuse, politicians, luminaries form other sports and fellow cricketers - joined in to felicitate Ganguly at a gorgeous function in the historic Town Hall.
Organised by the Aryans Club, where Ganguly learnt the nuances of the game while training in the club-run Dukhiram Majumdar Coaching Centre, the function saw the former Indian skipper in a nostalgic mood as he recalled those early days.
"I remember the day when I came to Aryans Club with my father. I took my first nervous steps in the game at the centre," Ganguly said, paying his respects to the coaches tat the Dukhiram Majumdar Coaching Centre.
"It is by the grace of god that I have played for so many years for India and Bengal. Now the baton is in the hands of those junior to me."
"People of Bengal enjoyed my game. I would love to see someone else give as much, if not more, joy to the people of my state," he said.
Turning to national selector Raja Venkat, with whom he had played cricket, Ganguly said, "The future of Begnal cricket is also in his hands. I have a lot of hope in him."
A citation described Ganguly as one who would have a permanent sit in the "golden throne of people's hearts".
"We salute you," it read.
State Municipal Affairs Minister Ashok Bhattacharya, known for his closeness to Ganguly, said two incidents during his long stint in international cricket had caused lot of hurt to Ganguly.
"The first was the way he was dropped from the Rest of India squad in the Irani Trophy this year. The second was when he got out 15 short of hundred in his last Test at Nagpur."
City Mayor Bikash Bhattacharya said the prince of Kolkata would be remembered by cricket lovers all over the world for his mental toughness and steely character. "He has been wronged several times. But he has never bowed his head."
Former Cricket Association of Bengal joint secretary and Aryans club top official Samar Pal demanded that a chapter on Ganguly be included in the state's school curriculum.
Among others present were former Olympian footballer P.K. Banerjee, film actors Deboshree Roy and Rituparna Sengupta, Sahitya Akademi president Sunil Gangopadhyay, poet Subodh Sarkar, and a host of current and former members of the Bengal cricket team.