Rushdie's Visit: Sourav Ganguly Takes Pot-Shots at Mamata

Rushdie's Visit: Sourav Ganguly Takes Pot-Shots at Mamata
Former India captain Sourav Ganguly today took an indirect dig at West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and the controversy surrounding Booker prize-winning author Salman Rushdie's cancelled visit to Kolkata.

Addressing a gathering at the Kolkata Literary Meet on the sidelines of a book launch on former skipper Nawab Pataudi, Ganguly said he was yet to write a book so as to avoid front page controversy.

"Because I don't want a front page photograph the next morning like it was of Salman Rushdie today. And he's not being allowed to enter the book fair. I generally tend to keep away from it," Ganguly said about today's big story in the newspapers.

"It's just the feeling that there is no point writing if I can't write everything. Sometimes, you are forced not to write everything," he said to a question what had made him avoid penning an autobiography even years after calling it quits from the game.

"May be at some stage, the autobiography would come but I don't know when. A biography is about telling the truth to the world," he added.

Rushdie had cancelled his visit to the literary meet alleging Mamata had ordered police to block his arrival in Kolkata.

Replying to a "request" by one among the audience to become the brand ambassador of sports in Bengal, Ganguly quipped "you have to make this request to Didi not me".

Ganguly also spoke about the secret of his successful stint as India captain.

Ganguly said the first thing on his mind when he became captain was to imbibe confidence in his players.

"The first goal when I became captain was to recognise match winners.

"It's about identifying the right talent and give them at least 10 Tests without thinking about their individual performance," he said.

"I never wanted a player to feel that what happens 'if I fail'. That's the biggest drawback in anybody's development. I wanted to bring all together under one roof and wanted them to believe that we would support you even if you fail," he said.

Australia will tour India with four spinners. But Ganguly said, "It'll still be difficult to beat India in India."

To another question about the lack of interest in women's cricket, he said, "There is good news that BCCI is looking after the women's cricket."

The World Cup being held in India was an example of this, he said.

Ganguly however said he would never want his daughter Sana to become a cricketer.

"I would want her to do better things in life rather than playing cricket. She practises Odishi dance. She is a singer and I want her to study than playing cricket," he said.

Ganguly earlier unveiled the book, Tiger's Tales and the Search for a New Cricket Memoir by Sharmila Tagore who was also present during the discussion.

"It's good to see a book on the legend. Its not a biography but what others have said about him (Tiger). It has to be good as (Bishen Singh) Bedi has penned good things about Tiger," Ganguly said.

About Bedi being a harsh critic, he said, "I remember one Nagpur Test that we lost to Australia and when I came back to hotel I would invariably see myself as being made 'guilty' in one TV episode right next to him."

"I have become a very good friend of Bishen now. But when I was a captain, he would just take on me," he said.

Sharmila recalled Tiger Pataudi and their courtship before their celebrated marriage in 1968. "I met Tiger in this city. We met a few months before we got married."

Sharmila said the couple was strictly against discussing cricket between them.

"Don't you dare talk about cricket when you don't know," he said with a massive kick on my leg correcting me that it's not 'leg cut' but 'late cut'," she recollected.

The yesteryear's actor also said: "Tiger always said there was no dispute about who was more famous. There were several other well-known actors but there was only one cricket captain."

The Nawab never had any regrets despite losing an eye in a freak accident, she said.

"I don't think he had any regrets in life. He had lost his father when he was 11 on his birthday, he lost an eye at 20. He was used to losses that took care of him dealing with life," she said.
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