Back in 1995, during a post dinner chit-chat at S-14 (one of the hostel room) some one had asked me- who is your favourite cricketer? My instant answer was, "Saurav Ganguly". By that time his international career was confined to a solitary one-day match and three runs scored back in 1992. Later that year he made a sensational come back with back to back centuries in England. Almost got branded as "test player" by think tank, made to bat at no 8, even after Srinath in one ODI. Got dropped in Sahara cup only to come back year after that with such a dominance that Pakistan saw him as their terminator and we found our new leader. A leader who was not afraid to stare at the eyes of the opponent, a leader who shook off the docile image of the nation and announced that we have arrived in the world scene.
I find him as an inspirational leader. Like all great leaders he delivered stupendous result through his team. He spotted great talents. Gave them comfort and support to perform at the top level, showed confidence in their abilities, planned their growth, supported them through thick and thin, believed in them and tried to make sure that they are successful. He was ruthless with indiscipline (Nayan Mongia episode) and respectful to the super talented (Sachin Tendulkar). He led building of the new Indian cricket. These seem to be a copy book example of a successful remarkable corporate leadership. Lots to learn from him.
Another aspect which I find remarkable is his self confidence and commitment. I had read an article in Anandabazar Patrika quite a few months after he was dropped for the 2nd time by Chapel. He was down and out by then. Spot light had shifted to some where else. People, even die-hard fans had also resigned to the fact that he had seen his last. He was alone and ignored. At time- he used to practise for hours in Eden Gardens. At times with state or club players or at times all alone. He had taken all the criticism on his running between the wicket and fitness on chin. Even after the dark- he would keep on training and running. He prepared for that one last chance… kept his head down, played the same shot thousands of times… kept himself motivated… told himself that if he gets one chance, he has to make big out of it. He believed in himself and kept focus. Eventually he got a chance and the rest is history.
People often see his comeback and praise him on his determination. I look at the grinding he had undergone to make that comeback. Look at his self confidence and strength of mind. This is an example for all of us- to believe in our ability and keep practicing for that one chance that might come our way… Saurav’s achievements can’t be measured in terms of his personal records. His success lies in the team that he had groomed and developed, his success lies in the inspiration he had provided to the lacs of Indians to come out of mediocrity and make it big in their respective fields.