Kolkata: Former Indian cricket captain Sourav Ganguly wishes to carry on with the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) team in the fourth edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) Twenty20, or T20, cricket tournament next year, but doesn’t completely rule out switching to another side.
“(It) depends (on) whether KKR wants me,” Ganguly said in an interview. “It will be hard to leave Kolkata, but the auction rules are changing. So you never know.”
The proposed changes have not been announced yet, but it is expected that iconic players such as Ganguly, who were tied to specific sides through the first three editions of IPL, will be up for grabs.
Game plan: Ganguly says the IPL administration will have to find a way to make sure the new teams get good players. Sunil Saxena/Hindustan Times.
He says he is around for at least two more years.
Meanwhile, brand Sourav seems to have fallen out of favour with advertisers. Though he was among the top five run scorers in IPL 3, scoring 493 runs in 14 matches at an average of 37.92, he hasn’t received any new endorsement contract in recent times, and even the existing ones are going to end soon.
But Ganguly says his hands are full—he’s building a school and running a cricket academy in Kolkata. He has also begun anchoring television shows. Edited excerpts:
It seems IPL hasn’t contributed much to brand Sourav.
For me, it was just another tournament. I was already an established player when IPL came… But IPL has taken Indian cricket a long way. A lot of Indian players got to share the centre stage with the best players in the world.
Does not having a manager make any difference?
I was with WorldTel for the first five years, and then with Percept (D’Mark) for the next nine years. I stopped having one from last year. Over the years, I have realized that if people want you to endorse brands, they come to you directly. I still have a friend though, who helps me with these things.
To what does KKR owe its popularity—Sourav Ganguly or (actor) Shah Rukh Khan (SRK)?
I think bit of both. SRK is a huge brand… Cricket is huge in India, but obviously (actors such as) Shah Rukh, Preity (Zinta) and Shilpa Shetty add a lot of glamour and razzmatazz to the T20 format… Celebrities add to the entertainment (quotient), but obviously cricket is more important.
How do you think the recent controversies could impact IPL?
I am far from the controversies, but whoever has been running IPL—whether it’s Lalit (Modi), (sports management firm) IMG or the governing council—IPL has been outstanding. Let’s not take the credit away from anyone.
IPL has just added two new teams, but are there enough players to field?
The IPL administration will have to find a way to make sure the new teams get good players… They have to strike a balance between foreign and Indian players. The supply of good players (from abroad) is good because you have 7-10 countries to choose from. But the supply of quality Indian players is limited because there are only about 20 players who have the ability to be part of the Indian team.
How is your cricket academy in Kolkata doing?
We have around 1,000 kids there. When I finish building my school, I will attach it with the school so that more people get an opportunity to train.
Will you be joining cricket administration?
At some stage, I will consider it, but don’t know when.
Do you think cricketers make better administrators?
Not necessarily. As an administrator, you need to have the ability to sell as well—it’s not just about playing good cricket.