The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Sourav takes up infotech captaincy
- India skipper becomes brand ambassador for Bengal government
Sourav: Brand Bangla

Calcutta, June 10: If the vice-captain padded up to promote tourism, the skipper has decided to bat for information technology.

Chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee has got India captain Sourav Ganguly to sell Bengal’s potential to emerge as an infotech power to prospective investors. Down south, Sourav’s deputy Rahul Dravid is helping the Karnataka government to promote tourism.

Sourav visited the IT department today to test the pitch, so to speak. After a rigorous morning training session at the Eden Gardens, the captain headed straight to the department’s new office on Camac Street around 11 am and spent 45 minutes with IT minister Manab Mukherjee.

“I am the Bengal government’s brand ambassador for the IT industry. They want me to be part of some of their promotional activities and I will be happy to do that,” Sourav told The Telegraph this evening.

From sharing details of what the government has achieved over the past 12 months in terms of attracting companies like Wipro, Satyam and GE Capital to discussing future promotional activities, Mukherjee gave the captain a full view of the field.

“He is young and famous and his image is very much in sync with the IT industry,” Mukherjee said, explaining the strengths of brand Sourav.

He needn’t have tried. The brand power is already established, at least going by the brands it helps sell. Ask LG.

This one is different, though — not the time to ask what the nation can do for you, etc., etc. The brand ambassador is doing it for the love of Bengal, nothing else.

“We had invited him to come to our new office and see the latest developments in the IT industry. He looked impressed with our achievements. Now, we are planning to involve him in some of our key promotional events and he has agreed to help us in such endeavours,” added Mukherjee, a die-hard fan of the captain.

After enquiring about the calendar of events, Sourav said he was keen on attending Infocom 2004 — the biggest IT event in the eastern region, jointly organised by Nasscom and Businessworld, an Ananda Bazar group publication — in December.

A new promotional film on Bengal with Sourav featuring in it is also on the cards, Mukherjee said.

Already, a publicity flick being used by the government in roadshows and investor meets for the past three months has two shots of the left-hand batsman. In a black kurta, Sourav says: “West Bengal is the right destination for investments in the IT sector. Advantage Bengal.”

Cut to the next shot, and he is seen in his national colours dancing down the track to hit a huge six.

During the 30-minute closed-door session with the minister and IT secretary G.D. Gautama, after which Sourav had to give in to the demand for autographs and a photo session with the department’s staff, the captain came up with a few suggestions as well.

“Sourav told us that the perception about the state was changing, but added that the state needed more aggressive marketing to communicate the message,” said Gautama.

Aggression, as in the Indian team'

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