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Sourav congratulated Simon on Finding the Gaps

An evening of cricket talk with Simon Taufel and Sourav Ganguly

Sourav Ganguly was the cynosure of all eyes at former star umpire Simon Taufel’s book launch at ITC Sonar’s Pala

By Saionee Chakraborty
  • Published 19.11.19, 6:51 PM
  • Updated 19.11.19, 6:51 PM
  • 3 mins read
  •  

Purple shirt. Black trousers. A smile on his face. Sourav Ganguly was the cynosure of all eyes at former star umpire Simon Taufel’s book launch at ITC Sonar’s Pala on November 2. He drew the laughs almost immediately after taking the mic. “(It’s) not me alone who is getting old!” he chuckled. The audience guffawed. He congratulated Simon on Finding the Gaps. “I had written a book last year. So, I know how difficult it is to complete this process… it is an emotional journey as well,” said the new president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India. He took a trip down memory lane, serving the audience a slice of nostalgia. “At the peak of my playing career, I have seen him very closely. In an era where technology was just starting to come in, in an era when television was so critical, in an era when people still filled up the ground for Test matches, he just stood out. I think he had enormous pressure on him to be a stand-out umpire in those days because he came from a country (Australia) which probably had the best cricket team in the last 30-35 years… cricket was played in a way when the rest of the world had to stand up and say that if I have to compete, I’ll have to be right up there,” said Sourav, before settling down for an elaborate chat.

Success, leadership, integrity, values, attitude, resilience, learning from mistakes and picking yourself up after failures, “unlocking the potential” summed up the evening. 

Pictures: Rashbehari Das
Photo Credit: Pictures: Rashbehari Das
(L-R) Atul Bhalla, area manager east ITC Hotels & cluster general manager ITC Royal Bengal & ITC Sonar, Nilaanjana J Chakraborty, Toufique Hasan, deputy high commissioner of Bangladesh, Australian consul-general Andrew Ford, Sourav Ganguly and Simon Taufel at the unveiling of Simon’s book Finding the Gaps. “Sourav je kotota hero tar proman hochhey uni aamader honourable Prime Minister (Sheikh Hasina) ke invite korechhen and she has agreed. We are so happy that he has become the BCCI president. Ek ta toh aachhey je Bangali hishebey… I have also seen when Bangladesh comes to play here, Calcutta and West Bengal feels that 11 Bengalis are playing here,” said Hasan, who follows the T20 more because “it is a shorter format and easy to follow”. “I will obviously follow the Test match that Bangladesh will play here,” he said. A couple of years in Calcutta and Hasan feels the city is “home outside home”. For Bhalla, the “underlying takeaway from Simon Taufel’s book were integrity, values and great leadership”. “It is in keeping with ITC Hotels’ values in our continuing journey of excellence, deepening our association with the game of cricket, a sport we believe outlines true sportsmanship in human endeavour,” he said. Ford liked fast bowlers like Dennis Lillee when he was young. “I was sort of a fast bowler when I was young,” he said. Steve Waugh has always been one of his favourite cricketers “because of his fighting attitude”. “The thing you have to remember about Steve Waugh is that early on, he struggled to get into the Test team. Once he hit his mark, he stayed the best. This fits in with today’s talk… it’s about people persisting and reaching their abilities. His brother was naturally talented… Mark Waugh… but Steve Waugh went to higher heights because of hard work,” Ford told t2 post-launch. The evening for him combined two of his passions… sport and leadership. “He (Simon) is a man who has risen to the top of his game where his every decision receives intense scrutiny. He knows what it takes to succeed at the highest level under pressure. The books also seeks to inspire individuals to reach their potential and try something new. So, when my government rang me up about a year ago and offered my wife and me the opportunity of setting up a new Australian diplomatic post here in Calcutta, we grabbed that challenge with two hands,” added Ford.
Pictures: Rashbehari Das
Photo Credit: Pictures: Rashbehari Das
The launch was hosted by cricket enthusiast Nilaanjana J Chakraborty and ITC Sonar. “This book is about soft skills and life skills... about how we find our gaps and how we close those gaps and how we become better people as a result. We look at the fundamentals… what it takes to be successful. To get to the top and more particularly stay there… bouncing back from mistakes. Once you realise you cannot go any lower, it is actually a good thing… give up or come back stronger and harder. This book talks about unlocking your potential,” said Simon. Nilaanjana always had a book launch on her mind. “I love the game of cricket and the joys, the peace and relaxation it has given me over the years… Simon Taufel is an old family friend and I wanted his voice to be heard beyond the confines of the game…. Hosting him is always a pleasure for us, because he is easy-going, a razor-sharp mind and a great analyst of life… I am opening up my firm shortly to do interesting programmes related to management services, sports, art, culture, tie-ups to facilitate more positive interaction between people,” she said. Sports journalist Boria Majumdar took part in the adda too.
Pictures: Rashbehari Das
Photo Credit: Pictures: Rashbehari Das
Christine Ford, wife of Andrew Ford, too, grew up watching cricket because her father was a “big cricket fan”. “Back in the days when I used to watch, which was a very long time ago, it was the clowns that would attract your attention… Merv Hughes doing his exercises in the outfield… for the uninitiated watcher, it was often the clowns that caught your attention… then, of course, they clowned around a little too much off the field… so, the discipline of the current players is much more admirable,” she laughed.
Pictures: Rashbehari Das
Photo Credit: Pictures: Rashbehari Das
Arjun Chakraborty played a gracious host along with wife Nilaanjana.

Sourav speaks