Sourav Ganguly's Administrative Career is A Political Test Match for Dada

If his BCCI ouster is likened to when he was dropped from the national team, then one must not forget his comeback.

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Sourav Ganguly's Administrative Career is A Political Test Match for Dada
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Sourav Ganguly, the king of the offside, has had an eventful career, both in cricket and in politics, except that in the latter he has never been directly involved.

On October 18, ex-India cricketer Roger Binny replaced Ganguly as the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) president after the latter did not find support for a re-election after the end of his term.

This has led to speculation that Ganguly, who was rumoured to have been given the position of BCCI president in 2019, in return for helping the BJP in West Bengal, was ultimately sacked because he didn’t join or endorse the saffron party in any manner. Now both what happened in 2019 and now are purely in the realm of speculation but that hasn't stopped a political slugfest from erupting in Bengal.

The TMC is now attacking the BJP for sacking Dada as political vendetta.  

A Cover Drive Well-Timed

In a previous article for The Quint, journalist Himadri Ghosh had opined that Ganguly’s politics is better timed than his cover drives. If speculations as well as insider sources in the BJP are to be believed and Ganguly was indeed set to join the BJP to take on Mamata Banerjee, and he ultimately didn’t, then it is a classic Ganguly cover drive.  

If you haven’t been living under a rock, then the news of Ganguly “finally taking the plunge” into politics is one that resurfaces every two to three years. Except that the party he is speculated to join changes with time.  


Ganguly has always maintained a good and cordial relationship with politicians and administrators, while always keeping his cards close to his chest. 

When the Left Front was in power in West Bengal, he was close to several Left leaders and was even ex-chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharya’s blue-eyed boy. He was often seen in several Left programmes and had built a very close friendship with prominent Left leader Ashok Bhattacharya, with whom he still maintains a good relationship. He had even gone against his long-time mentor, Kolkata-based businessman and cricket administrator Jagmohan Dalmiya to support the Buddhadeb Bhattacharya-backed candidate for the Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) president.

He had even backed the Left during the Singur saga and supported Tata’s manufacturing plant.


As the government changed hands in 2011, Ganguly too seemed to start expressing his proximity towards Mamata Banerjee – The ‘Dada’ of Bengal and the ‘Didi’ of Bengal as people would have it. He would be seen in several government functions and would receive several accolades from the chief minister and TMC MLA Firhad Hakim. Kind words of appreciation were often exchanged between the two.

This was the time when he was made the CAB president. But despite heavy speculation, he never joined the party.  

Come 2019, shortly after he was ‘unanimously’ made BCCI president, the rumour mills were rife once again – that the BJP, specifically Union Minister Amit Shah had been trying to persuade him to join the party and be the face of the party in West Bengal, against the Trinamool Congress and Mamata Banerjee. Kind words of appreciation were exchanged between the two, and word on the street was that it will be a Didi vs Dada fight. Despite Bengal BJP being certain that they had managed to convince Dada, he made it clear that he is not going to bat for any party.

In May, shortly after the 2021 West Bengal elections concluded, Amit Shah along with some senior BJP leaders were hosted at the Ganguly residence for dinner, in what was being seen as the last attempt to convince Dada. A day after that, Ganguly spoke about his good relations with Didi.  

The “new” BJP, especially Amit Shah is not used to being stone-walled. Insider sources tell The Quint that Dada’s decision to not join the BJP not only upset several leaders, but also soured his relationship with the party.  

Being Sourav Ganguly

Experts have opined that Dada, being the ‘Prince of Kolkata’ did not want to divide his fan base by joining or endorsing any political party.  

Dada has always maintained a proximity to people in power without committing to anyone. He has always been a calculated risk-taker on and off the field, having measured his every move. That is why, he himself has always benefited at the end of the day. His close associates, including Ashok Bhattacharya, have always said that he is unlikely to take the political plunge.

Because at the end of the day, sharing the dais at the top of the priority list alongside cricket will always be brand Ganguly, and Dada is smart enough to not let anything tarnish that brand.


A Comeback on the Cards?

If Ganguly’s sacking is being compared to his sacking from the national team, then one must not forget what followed – he went back home, practised harder than ever and staged a comeback for the history books.  

Maybe that is why he has chosen to contest for the post of CAB president again. The ‘Prince of Kolkata’ is back to his home ground again, where he is revered no less than a prince.

There could very well still be a long road ahead for him in his administrative career. In cricket analogies, this 'sacking' is probably just one in which he accidentally “nicked one from McGrath”. Even though he might not be backed by the BCCI for the post of ICC president this time around, what’s to say that he won’t be the one the next time the opportunity comes knocking.

Until then, Dada knows a thing or two about patience.

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Topics:  BCCI   Sourav Ganguly  

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