That unmistakable pride in stride firmly in place again, Sorav Ganguly looks in command of his knights from Kolkata.
“It's all about building an atmosphere within the team. The game should be played freely”, Sourav Ganguly declared unhesitatingly in the crowded press conference the two most important things that had transformed his Kolkata team this season.
There was no mention of John Buchanan. Nobody dared to utter his name. Surely, Dada would never. The ‘revolutionary’ Multiple-captains theory has found its place in the waste paper basket. Kolkata has begun winning, convincingly.
“Everyone is doing his best. The players, the support staff. The format does not allow us to relax. You don’t have time. Just got to keep playing shots. And we are doing just that”, said the rejuvenated captain Ganguly.
His team has won back to back matches now against the last year’s champions and runners. A turn around, possibly unbelievable, even a few days earlier. They had won only three matches out of 14 in the last edition of the Indian T20 championship in South Africa. Now their record stands at two out of two. It must be satisfying for the man, back at the hot seat.
And his decisions have already started paying back. To involve Wasim Akram as the bowling consultant was his brainchild. See the impact. Bangalore was 4/35 within 7.2 overs and could never come back from there. Angelo Mathews, critics’ man of the match with 4/19 and the catch of Manish Pandey, was unplayable while Ishant and Langevelt, the two opening bowlers just refused to allow the batsmen go after them. The only Pakistani involved with the Indian competition is having an influence hard to go unnoticed.
“He (Wasim) is working with the bowlers. He speaks to them regularly and that’s a great lesson for all of them - Ishant, Langevelt, the rookie Varun Arun or the experienced Shane Bond (when he comes). The itinerary does not give us much time to practice but it is helpful for the bowlers to have someone like him with them. I hope he stays with the team for many years”, said Ganguly.
He would be in an enviable position when four foreigners – Chris Gayle, David Hussey, Brendn McCulum and Shane Bond – arrive. But will not it be difficult for him o chose, especially since the foreigners are firing on all cylinders for him?
“All of them are top class international stars. And we are winning our matches. I’ll pick the team according to the form, the conditions. We will see it when they arrive.”
His another recruit, Manoj Tiwary, was adjudged the man of the match with his 29-ball 50. Manoj had represented Delhi in the first two editions. This season, Sourav was instrumental in bringing him from there. And Tiwary earned him another victory.
“Manoj has talent. Cheteswar (Pujara) and Wriddhiman (Saha) too, are talented youngsters. What they need is opportunities to show their talent. In this tournament, they are getting the chance. Today, Manoj played really well. He set the game for us. I just hope that he continues to play like this which will be good for him and for our team as well.”