Wooing fans

It was outright ‘Dadagiri’ on Liberty Road, located in the busy commercial area of Hyderabad! Well, it was not by any means street-fighting, but the charisma and crowd-pulling power of the ‘Prince of Kolkata’, Sourav Ganguly. He caused a massive traffic jam even on a holiday. The former India captain was in the city, visiting a sports goods shop as its brand ambassador.

“I love the passionate response of the Hyderabadis every time I come to this city. I still remember the way they cheered me when I played during my comeback in the 2006 Moin-ud-Dowla Gold Cup at the Gymkhana Grounds,” the ‘Dada’ recalled.

On that memorable occasion, the fans charged on to the field when Ganguly was batting and touched his feet in reverence and admiration. It was symbolic of the former India skipper’s popularity and also Hyderabad’s love for the Bengal cricketer.

Up against the media, Ganguly was very accommodative and was cool as a cucumber while fielding questions that ranged from the recent series in Australia to the IPL and his own fate in one-day cricket.

Ganguly said it was good that celebrities from the film industry and business houses were showing interest in the sport. “It is great to work with someone like Shah Rukh Khan for my Kolkata IPL team,” he said. He did not subscribe to the view that the advent of film personalities would reduce cricket to mere showmanship. “We, cricketers, have a job on hand and we will be focussed on it,” he remarked.