“Winning Like Sourav: Think & Succeed Like Ganguly” by Abhirup Bhattacharya

Today’s post is about  “Winning Like Sourav: Think & Succeed Like Ganguly” by Abhirup Bhattacharya, who has a degree in Fashion Technology and MBA in Finance from the well know Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies in Mumbai.  The book has recently been published by Rupa Publications.

Way back in 1992, a young cricketer from Kolkatta was selected to tour Australia and didn’t do much on the tour. The 18 year old Sourav Ganguly returned with a dip in his reputation rather than a boost in his career. There were snide remarks that he was selected through favouritism under the “East Zone quota”,  gossip that his team mates found him arrogant for one so inexperienced and a mere 3 runs to show from his only appearance in One Day Internationals. Cut to 1996, and four years later, Sourav Ganguly is the talk of town. His century (131) on Test debut at Lord’s, followed by another (136) at Trent Bridge a few weeks later showed the world that Ganguly the player had emerged from the shadows of the past. Now he is lauded, and rightly so, for all his cricketing feats including of course his captaincy.

After all years later, the great Sachin Tendulkar said of Ganguly, “Sourav’s greatest strength is his mind. He is hard working – not only in the nets but also mentally. He bounces back.” One also remembers another Indian cricketing “great”, Rahul Dravid, famously say, “On the offside, first  there is God, then there is Ganguly.”!!

Apart from the 21 Test wins out of 49 under his leadership, ( 11 of them overseas) he is remembered for his mentoring of many young cricketers who became famous over time, men like Yuvaraj Singh, Harbhajan Singh, Zahir Khan and the unforgettable Virender Sehwag, but to name a few. As a top order batsman, in summary, he amassed 11363 runs in 311 ODIs at an average of 41 and a strike rate of 72, with 22 centuries. In the 113 Tests he played, he scored 7212 runs at an average of 42 with 16 centuries.

Looking back to those times, there is no doubt that he injected a fighting spirit in the Indian cricket team which was down in the dumps when he was appointed captain in 2000. The match fixing scandal had scalped senior players like Azharuddin, the captain; Ajay Jadeja; and Nayan Mongia and Ganguly inherited a team which had potential but was down in morale.

The book is however not just about Ganguly the cricketer. ” Dada”, as he was popularly called by his team mates and millions of his fans world wide, used a variety of techniques to mould the team to a fighting unit. Abhirup Bhattacharya relates in management speak just how Ganguly achieved what he did. Be it in leadership, in mentoring, in strategy or in risk taking, the author maps Ganguly’s achievements with certain well established principles. Each chapter has “Learning Tips” which are enough to succinctly convey important messages to the readers.

I wish there was more incidents in the book of Ganguly the cricketer apart from the more famous ones that everyone has read about or seen on television. However, it must be said that a lot has been crammed into 145 pages.

Students of management as well as cricket fans would enjoy this book. It is a fitting tribute to one whom Geoffrey Boycott fondly called,  “The Prince of Calcutta.”

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