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Saurav Ganguly And Boria Mazumdar Enthrall The Crowd With Cricket Gossip

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The session on Eleven Gods And A Billion Indians – the name of Boria Mazumdar’s well-researched book began rather gently, but as the momentum built, embarrassing stories flew back and forth between the well-spirited Saurav Ganguli, author Boria Mazumdar, BCCI Head Honcho Vinod Rai and Malavika Banerjee.

Boria began by engaging the audience with little anecdotes from those he had interviewed for his book. During the 2001 Eden Garden Test Match between Australia and India, umpire S.K. Bansal had inadvertently driven into a no-entry area and was promptly stopped by a policeman, who upon recognizing Bansal asked if he was the umpire that had declared Glen McGrath out. When Bansal acknowledged that he had done so, the delighted cop informed him that he could travel to any no-entry zone without any problems during the Test Match!

Saurav when asked about how one becomes a God was extremely humble and said that he never thought of himself as one. He grew up watching his idols Sunil Gavaskar and Kapil Dev and the 1983 World Cup which had a great impact on him as he viewed Gavaskar and Kapil as ‘revolutionaries’, Sachin as a ‘genius’ and today feels that Virat Kohli is ‘set to take the country forward.’ The advantage of India is that with every generation you get great cricketers and even though there was very little money in the earlier days, the players wanted to be the best. It was the ‘mind set’ which was very important.

Boria’s first chapter of his book is on ‘match fixing’. Vinod Rai commented somberly that when the 2000 scandal erupted, it broke a billion hearts of the cricket-crazy fraternity in India to which Boria added that as the problem wasn’t sorted out properly the result was the 2013 incident again.

Then the fun and games began – Boria narrated an incident where Virendra Sehwag’s wife Aarti and Rahul Dravid’s wife Vijeta were watching a Test Match together and as soon as Sehwag scored this century and got out on the first day, Vijeta (Rahul’s wife) turned mournfully to Aarti and said – you are so lucky that now you can leave. I may be sitting here for 2-3 days before I can go home!

Boria also mentioned that about 50-60% of the tourists visiting the Lord’s Museum are Indians and most of them want to know about Saurav’s shirt-removing incident here. To this Saurav narrated a story (see full version on facebook.com/windowontravel) about how and why he removed his shirt. His mother would keep adding some stones on his chain prior to his big tours and perplexed about this he asked: “ma are all my stars bad”….and that’s why you keep adding more stones to my chain? Then when he won the Nat West Trophy he removed his shirt as his mum had requested him to show all the stones when victorious, and that’s exactly what he did!

Michael had narrated a story to Boria about when Ricky Ponting was sitting with his hand on his head and the entire Australian dressing room was in shock as at the toss with Saurav Ganguly, Saurav said “head-tail.” Saurav then picked up the coin and handed it to Ricky and said “we are batting” and walked off! This was the audaciousness of Saurav Ganguly in the face of the world’s best team.

Vinod Rai was asked about the 2G scandal – i.e. the Ganguly-Greg scandal and Saurav responded that recently he had been in the same room with Rahul Dravid (whom he took out to a meal), Steve Waugh whom he greeted and with Greg Chappell, Saurav emphasized that: “the only thing which you should do is stay away.”

Saurav noted that no one’s life is perfect and each of us has our ups and downs, but it is from the unfortunate incidents that we should learn how to move on. When he got dropped in 2006, he came back even stronger and batted for the next 3 years at his all-time best! The best thing which sport did for him was that he did what he wanted to do and those 20 years were the best part of his life.

The evening ended with Malavika noting to Vinod Rai that it was good to spend the evening with the Maharaja rather than A. Raja!