Doosra interviewed Sourav Ganguly at Eden Gardens soon after he became the CAB president.
As his wont, dada was two hours late for the interview but he sort of made up with his frank views on Bengal and Indian cricket.
He chewed his nails throughout the interview until he was sufficiently manicured.
The tangled mass of assorted chains and lockets also made an appearance as he undid the first two buttons of his shirt which he, despite occasional provocations, did not take off or swirl.
We produce the interview verbatim below:
Doosra: Ah, here you are. We thought you won’t turn up at all.
Sourav Ganguly: Sorry, I’m late but don’t you think you should have got used to it by now? Bhagwan ke ghar der hain andher nahi. And you forgot they called me God of the off-side?
Doosra: Well, you have a point there, and a gully as well. Anyway, how does it feel to be the boss of Bengal cricket?
SG: Long ago, I asked “aapne dada ko bhule to nahin?” They proved they have not. I thank them for making me CAB boss though, honestly, I expected to lead ICC if not the UN. Anyway, CAB is a good launchpad I guess.
Doosra: So what are your plans for Bengal cricket?
SG: I promise a swift turnaround in Bengal cricket. They won’t have to wait for it like Steve Waugh had to wait for me at toss (bursts into laughter).
Doosra: Many expect you to identify youngsters who would form the nucleus of the future Bengal team, just as you did as Team India captain.
SG: I’m glad you asked this question. Well, I have decided Sehwag, Yuvraj, Kaif, Bhajji and Zaheer will form the core of the future Bengal team.
Doosra: What! But they are nearly done with competitive cricket and they play for other states!
SG: Sorry, I meant Sehwag junior, Yuvraj junior, Bhajji junior...See, it’s an ambitious, unprecedented project. Sehwag is so pissed off with Delhi that he won’t mind even if his son plays for Andaman Nicobar in Ranji Trophy. We have convinced Bhajji to get married soon and talks are on with Yuvraj as well to graduate from pie-chucker to bachelorhood-chucker. These are the baby steps for revival of Bengal cricket, if you know what I mean (winks).
Doosra: Quite radical, one must say.
SG: Yes, and if the plan materialises, it would rob other states of their own talents and enrich Bengal. So you can say I’m killing two Dickie Birds with one Sharon Stone -- I picked it from Sidhu, by the way.
Doosra: Hope you realise that cricket administration is not going to be a bed of roses. There will be people resisting every step. How do you plan to tackle them?
SG: Chappal se nahi, Chappell se maarunga. I will treat them like I used to treat left-arm spinners. You don’t worry about that.
Doosra: And what about Shah Rukh Khan?
SG: What about him?
Doosra: I mean he treated you badly at KKR, stripping you of captaincy then kicking you out of the team. Are we going to see him being banned at Eden Gardens just like he was at Wankhede?
SG: Don’t be silly. We are grown up men. I have put the entire KKR episode behind me. However, other members decided Shah Rukh will have to walk on his hands every time he wants to enter Eden Gardens, balancing an egg on a spoon in his mouth and two lighted candles on his soles. Well, I can’t always ignore majority view, you see. (winks)
Doosra: What are the reforms you have in mind for Bengal cricket?
SG: To improve our running between-the-wicket, we plan to abolish it altogether. We want our future generation batsmen to score only with 4s and 6s. We commissioned a study that suggests taking singles and twos significantly impedes a batsman’s ability to hit 4s and 6s in the same over, apart from greatly enhancing run-out risks. I agree, it’s not worth the risk.
Doosra: There is a rumour that your wife would be roped in as the team’s batting consultant. That’s not true for sure?
SG: What’s wrong with that? Dona will help our batsmen get their footwork right. Against the spinners, they need to come dancing down the track and who better than a professional dancer to teach them how to do it? Also she gets bored at home knitting sweater for me and the kids.
Doosra: And why did CAB choose Salman Khan, of all people, as the brand ambassador?
SG: I suspect you’re not aware of it but taking off shirt is universally recognized as a cathartic exercise, and my experience is no different. Modern cricket is much more stressful and the players need an outlet for their pent-up angst. Look at Salman, he has got into all sorts of troubles and still remains sane because he frequently goes topless. Besides, we wanted to tap into his hit-and-run experience. (winks)
Doosra: What is your immediate target as CAB chief?
SG: To get Ashok Dinda back down to earth. Poor lad, has leapt so high since his last delivery that got awkwardly stuck in one of the trees in maidan. Fire Brigade guys have reached there with ladder etc. Maybe we need to fill his boots with stones to keep him grounded or tether him to the stumps.
Doosra: And what’s your long-term target as the boss of Bengal cricket?
SG: To lead Bengal to a position where BCCI and eventually ICC will beg for CAB membership.