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As a young captain, Sourav Ganguly rebuilt an Indian side that was hit by the match-fixing scandal in the early 2000s. Nishad Pai Vaidya writes that Ganguly faces a bigger test 14 years later as he takes on a role in the Mudgal Committee looking into the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2013 spot-fixing and betting controversy.
Go back to the year 2000, when Indian cricket was hit by the infamous match-fixing scandal. Some big names had been dragged into the controversy and Indian cricket searched for credibility to reestablish the faith in the fans. Then a young leader moulded a team in the company of some distinguished cricketers. They gave fans the hope that they would play the game hard, fair and would try for nothing but victory. Sourav Ganguly’s legacy in Indian cricket is often attributed to the winning streak and the belief he instilled, but it lies in the way he led the team out of a turbulent phase.
Now, 14 years down the line, Ganguly finds himself dealing with the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2013 spot-fixing and betting controversy as the Mudgal Committee has requested him to join them in the investigations. The Supreme Court had asked the Justice Mukul Mudgal-led panel to appoint a cricketer with ‘impeccable integrity.’ The fact that they have chosen Ganguly is a proof of how he is revered for his contribution to Indian cricket. It is a certificate of his legacy and brings into perspective what he has done through the tough phase.
However, this challenge maybe a bigger one for Ganguly when compared to the one he faced as a captain in 2000. Back then, he took over during the South Africa series at home, after which the scandal broke out. Plus, he lost a few big names in the middle of that controversy. However, he was fortunate to have the likes of Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid and Anil Kumble around him. In the company of such revered figures, he could rebuild the team and restore credibility. And through that, he instilled a winning habit, blooding in the confidence to take on the world.
In 2000, Ganguly had lost a few players on match-fixing allegations, but this time, he is in the midst of cleaning up a mess that seems murkier. It isn’t just about some players being allegedly involved. There are allegations leveled against the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) President N Srinivasan, who was made to step aside by the Supreme Court during the IPL 2014. Thus, Ganguly faces bigger odds as he is assisting the investigation party. Building a team and picking up the pieces is one thing — he also had the cricketing side of things to handle. This time, it is all about investigation and presenting his own thoughts.
Nevertheless, for the fans, it is a welcome move with a cricketer of Ganguly’s stature stepping forward to help in cleaning the mess. He passed one test for them more than a decade ago by winning their hearts. That puts the fan’s faith in him and Ganguly could be the man to shoulder that responsibility. Plus, he isn’t someone who would hold his thoughts and is known to voice his opinions without fear. That is exactly what would be expected of him in this testing hour, when there always seems to be another controversy lurking around the corner.
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