IPL Diary: Dada is back at Eden, but fails to evoke fizz of the past

The former India captain does the honour of ringing the ceremonial bell

Sourav Ganguly rings the ceremonial bell ahead of the IPL match at Eden.
Sourav Ganguly rings the ceremonial bell ahead of the IPL match at Eden.

Gautam Bhattacharyya

The ‘return’ of Sourav Ganguly at the Eden Gardens does not seem to evoke similar passion as that of the past with the crowd. After Delhi Capitals were not drawn to play an away game against Kolkata Knight Riders at the Eden in the 2023 season, ‘Dada’ is back this time as the Director of Cricket for the Group – but have chosen to take a backseat in on-the-field operations.

As the stadium started filling up slowly on Monday, Ganguly was present at the ground with head coach Ricky Ponting as the Capitals boys were knocking around.

However, the former India captain seemed content in playing second fiddle – through Pant will always have him to turn to for inside information along with Ishan Porel and Mukesh Kumar, two of the Bengal cricketers in the franchise.

There were no prizes for guessing that Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB), which has a ritual of inviting a marquee cricketing personality present at the venue to ring the ceremonial bell to usher in the start of the match, would call their former president and most well known son to do the honour.

Now travelling with the Capitals juggernaut, Ganguly is staying back in the city for the next few days to be present at the Bengal Pro T20 League trophy unveiling – CAB’s own franchise league set to kick off soon after IPL.

Ganguly’s journey with the Capitals began in 2019 along with the rebranding of the team from Delhi Capitals – when he and Ponting were credited with a turnaround of the side with the trio of Pant, Prithvi Shaw and Shreyas Iyer playing a key role in it. However, he had to step aside for three years between 2020 and 22 due to his tenure as the BCCI president before coming on board again last year.

However, his return in the dugout has had no impact in Delhi Capitals’ fortunes which have been on a downward spiral over the last couple of years while they finished ninth last season.

While Ponting continued to be at the helm of affairs, the team management has devised more of a managerial role for Ganguly – be it attending the auction to formulation of team strategy.

Looking long term, it’s no secret that Ganguly has often harboured ambitions of coaching at the top level. An IPL franchise may not quite be the ultimate destination for him, but then only time can tell!

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