| Sourav Ganguly at practice in Mumbai Monday
Mumbai: A year ago, Raj Singh Dungarpur was screaming for Sourav Ganguly’s head. Yet, Monday afternoon, the Cricket Club of India (CCI) — an institution headed by him — awarded the Indian captain honorary life membership.
Vice-captain Rahul Dravid and coach John Wright were also honoured similarly, at a classy function graced by a clutch of former captains: Polly Umrigar, G.S. Ramchand, Nari Contractor, Chandu Borde, Ajit Wadekar and Bobby Simpson.
A “communication gap” over the timing meant that Sourav arrived over an hour after the scheduled noon start, but the fact he rushed from the Taj — in a taxi, at that — the moment he got the “reminder” prevented his being featured in an unnecessary controversy.
“The invitation didn’t specify the time and, so, I assumed it would be after our late afternoon workout,” Sourav told The Telegraph.
Earlier, while receiving the membership (No. 0500136), the captain “promised” to avail of the CCI’s excellent facilities whenever he is in Mumbai.
Sourav also recalled that his first appearance in any tournament here, as a teenager, was as a member of the CCI team.
For his part, Raj Singh acknowledged he had been very critical of Sourav, but added somewhat affectionately: “He has improved beyond recognition. Not only is he now an outstanding batsman, but an outstanding captain too...”
Wright, for whom the CCI has become a second home, picked the occasion as being one of the “most special moments,” while an emotional Dravid spoke of being “made to feel proud and blessed.”
Incidentally, Wright received his membership from Simpson — somebody he regards as his ‘guru’.
Raj Singh (a former Board president) took the initiative, in getting the three leading lights honoured, after India’s commendable showing in England. While India won the triangular NatWest Series, the Tests ended 1-1.