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Sourav takes guard, at the CAB

Sourav Ganguly, at the CAB HQ, on Saturday. Picture by Santosh Ghosh

Calcutta: “Nothing is as tough as batting,” was the first thing that Sourav Ganguly said after officially taking charge as Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) joint secretary on Saturday.

Being someone who has never got carried away with success or bogged down by failure, Sourav looked game for the challenges a wily administrator may have to come across.

Yes, he’s a fresher in this aspect, but Sourav is ready to take things head on, more so, as he’ll get a second chance to right the wrongs as an administrator, something that wasn’t possible being a batsman.

“It’s a bit nostalgic as my father too had once occupied the same seat. Now as far as I’m concerned, my role is something new… A new experience altogether for me…

“The objective is to do everything in a new way. Things have already got underway with the Vision 2020. The job also involves monitoring and controlling everything, making sure players are getting the best available facilities and gaining more exposure and taking care of the overall environment…

“Above all, I need to ensure things are done in the right way… Will take four to five months to settle everything,” he said.

Elaborating on his role, the former India captain added: “Look, I’ll have to work here being part of a team. In cricket, both as captain and batsman, I had the liberty to take decisions and do things myself. But it’s not the same here.

“You need to work as a team. Obviously, all the officials and committee members are here to help me out. As I said earlier, this job is easier… You don’t get a second chance while batting.”

Sourav made it clear he won’t be having any problems in handling the joint secretary’s role, considering his involvement in the Indian Super League (ISL) and his televsion assignments.

“Barring commentary, everything can be done sitting here in Calcutta. Even Mukesh Ambani runs Reliance staying elsewhere… So, there won’t be any problem handling ISL and other activities,” he remarked.

Talking about the ongoing India-England series, Sourav urged on moving ahead instead of harping on the verdict on the Ravindra Jadeja-James Anderson altercation. “Such a verdict was expected because of lack of CCTV footage.

“It’s good that the case is over. There’s still a lot of cricket to be played in the series, which is evenly poised. India need to put all these things and focus on winning the series because this England team is beatable… I’ve said that before…

“Besides, Manchester (venue for the fourth Test) produces the fastest wicket in England. So, the focus should be back on cricket.”

According to Sourav, it wouldn’t be unwise if Gautam Gambhir is given an opportunity instead of the misfiring Shikhar Dhawan. “Gambhir could be given a chance because the team needs fresh heads at the moment. And I say this keeping in mind that Dhawan is a good batsman. But at present, he’s not getting enough runs.”

Emphasising on the need to go in with five specialist bowlers in Manchester, Sourav doesn’t feel it’s right to bring in Ravichandran Ashwin at the expense of Jadeja. “Look, if Moeen Ali can get six wickets, Jadeja too can do the same. To me, he’s also a specialist spinner. Besides, he played so well at Lord’s. You cannot drop him. All he needs is bowl at the right areas,” he believes.

With Ishant Sharma and Bhuvneshwar Kumar sustaining injuries, pace-attack is a worry for India, Sourav feels. He’s also very disappointed with how Mohammed Shami has fared so far in the series.

“Pace attack a bit of a worry. Ishant is injured and so is Bhuvneshwar. The wicket at Manchester is the quickest in England, so a chance could be taken with Varun Aaron.

“But I’m really disappointed with Shami… He’s not doing well at all…”

Speaking of Vision 2020, Sourav informed the search for an alternative to Waqar Younis, who’s been appointed as Pakistan coach, has already started. “Talks are already in process with some people,” he said.