| Sourav Ganguly gets a bouquet from a wellwisher at his residence on Sunday. Picture by Santosh Ghosh
New Delhi/Calcutta: Having tele-checked in for Air Saharaís first flight from the capital to Calcutta, on Sunday, Sourav Ganguly had the luxury of reporting 20 minutes before departure. Once in the aircraft, the Team India captain asked for two pillows and was off to sleep in his preferred seat (1-A).
Sourav, in fact, woke up when the descent began. Soon, it would be an arrival with a difference ó back home within 48 hours of Indian cricketís most memorable moment in decades. The closest parallel, in a purely personal way, was his return after excellent centuries in each of his first two Tests (England, 1996).
ďThat was a different time... Iíd just made my debut and, clearly, priorities werenít the same... Today, the teamís success drives me,Ē Sourav, already Indiaís most successful captain, told The Telegraph on disembarking through the aero-bridge.
Fair enough, but is he consciously showing little emotion though, briefly, an exception was made in Rawalpindi'
Sourav, who was reaching the escalator, laughed: ďPerhaps, Iím getting old... Nowadays, two things excite: A tight situation and when Iím getting runs... Both times, I suppose I do show some emotion...Ē He turns 32 in July.
In his fifth year as captain, Sourav is determined not to rest on laurels. ďItís a quickly changing world and our biggest challenge is to get better. Nobody in this team is going to get complacent (after Pakistan) as the new season will bring a fresh challenge,Ē he said.
Incidentally, the stunning 2-1 Test series win on the other side of the divide has carried India to No. 4 in the ICCís standings. Sourav, however, doesnít give much credence to rankings.
He explained: ďI can understand Australia (No.1) and even England (No. 3) being ahead, but how has the No. 2 spot gone to South Africa' In recent times, they have merely won one series and rankings should reflect the current standing... Itís because of such lopsidedness that I donít pay much attention to what is listed ó officially, or otherwise.Ē
Well, Sourav always has an opinion ó like it or not, it canít be ignored.
While a distinctly proud father, Chandi, headed the small welcoming party on home turf ó Dona didnít come as Sana hadnít got up ó itís quite likely that the absence of a fitting welcome in New Delhi (late on Saturday evening) upset Sourav as it did most of his teammates.
Actually, the captain isnít comfortable with too much of shor-sharaba, but he would have liked his team of champions to be treated differently.
As reported in these columns, chaos reigned supreme and the players were taken out of the IGI Airport literally through the back door. Itís inexplicable why the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) allowed politicians to hijack what ought to have been an exclusive show of its own.
Announcing a handsome bonus isnít good enough: The BCCI should have organised a short felicitation immediately after the teamís arrival (from Islamabad), thereby according the heroes the respect they deserved.
By the way, BCCI secretary S.K. Nair (who also came on that special flight) was a witness to the pathetic show. Itís to be seen whether he raises that internally and calls for a protocol to be put in place.