| Debanik Sengupta
Leicester: A Calcuttan has something in common with Michael Ballack.
Like Ballack, he’s the captain of a German national team. We are talking about Debanik Sengupta.
Debanik, who made the Bengal squad in the late 1980s, is leading Germany at the ICC’s 6th European Cricket Championships that began in Glasgow on Thursday. The competition ends on August 9.
Debanik (38) who had a promising, but brief, career on the Calcutta Maidan, first burst on to the scene playing for Hindi High School in the CAB’s under-15 and under-19 tournaments in the early 1980s.
A top-class batsman and medium-pace bowler, his career progressed through the ranks of Jadavpur University — where he read Economics and was awarded a cricket ‘blue’ — Dakshin Kalikata Sansad, Kalighat Club and Sporting Union before getting a Bengal call-up.
However cricket soon took a backseat to his corporate career. He worked for the consulting arm of M.N. Dastur & Co. and a posting to Düsseldorf soon followed.
Far from the pavilions of Calcutta, he restarted his career in Germany playing for CC Düsseldorf before joining CC Rhineland, which has been a leading side in Germany’s North Rhine Westphalian regional league for the last five years.
Debanik’s maternal uncle Kalyan Sen, once a Bengal cricketer and an inspiration to his nephew, continues to be associated with Dakshin Kalikata Sansad and Kalighat Club.
Debanik was appointed ‘Kapitan’ of the German ‘Nationalmannschaft’ (national team) in 2004 and led the side on tours to Denmark, France, Holland and England before the latest assignment.
He is in charge of a team that is coached by an Englishman, and which includes expatriate Indian, Pakistani, Sri Lankan and English players.
This is the second time Scotland have hosted the European Cricket Championships, as part of the ICC World Cricket League. Thirty matches will be played over seven days at 12 venues in Glasgow.
Germany are in Group 1 of European Division 2 and come up against Gibraltar, Greece and Guernsey. France, Israel, Jersey and Norway make up Group 2.
Each team will play a round robin format before progressing to the play-offs. The team that finishes top after the play-offs will be promoted to European Division 1 and will join the likes of Holland, Denmark, Scotland & Ireland.