Kolkata, Sep 30 (IANS) Cricketing stalwarts and veteran administrators on Wednesday paid rich tributes to late Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) president Jagmohan Dalmiya who passed away on September 20.
A condolence meeting was held at the Eden Gardens, housing the headquarters of the Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB), which was like a second home to the septuagenarian cricket administrator.
Former Indian cricket captain and current CAB joint secretary Sourav Ganguly revisited the memories he had of Dalmiya – the first Asian head of the game’s global apex body International Cricket Council (ICC).
“I do not know how to call him, Mr. Dalmiya, sir or Jogu da. I can say my cricketing career began with watching him in the president’s room of the CAB, he was integral part of my cricketing journey, though we did not meet often as I was most of the times away, touring,” he said.
“I have seen him in two phases – number one when I was a cricketer and second, the little time I have spent as administrator. He is such a person, that wherever I have gone to play people have told me, give Mr. Dalmiya my regards, Dalmiya ji ko mera salam dena. That speaks volumes of his power and calibre as a sports administrator, he had friends all over the world.”
“Proud that he left the world while still being at the helm of the BCCI,” Ganguly added.
Former cricketer Sanjay Manjreker said: “The news (of Dalmiya’s demise) came as a shock, and one has to see the outpouring of love that the cricketing world has come up with. Even Ian Chappel who used to hate cricket administrators condoled his death.”
“Dalmiya was an administrator with a cricketing heart. Even when ODI cricket was taking over, he wanted Test cricket to still be in the scheme of things. His conscience was attached to sports, I hope Sourav (Ganguly) keeps him as a role model while filling his shoes, and I wish him all the best.”
Former batting great VVS Laxman, known for his exploits at the Eden Gardens, described Dalmiya’s death as a big loss for the world’s cricketing fraternity.
“In the last conference call we had of the cricket advisory committee he was quite happy with India’s performances in Sri Lanka and excited with the future of Indian cricket. After a few days I heard he was no more. it is a great loss to the entire cricketing fraternity. He was the first person from BCCI to recognise the true value of Indian cricket.”
“The 1996 World Cup was perhaps the turning point and since then Indian cricket has never looked back, The only thing he had in mind was how Indian cricket would grow. Whenever Sourav (Ganguly – then skipper) and (then coach) John Wright asked him for anything, he always used to oblige. We should now ensure Indian cricket should reach where it should,” Laxman said.
BCCI joint secretary Amitabh Choudhury compared Dalmiya’s death to the passing away of Mahatma Gandhi in 1948.
“He was a man of immense talent and stature. Kolkata was made well known to the cricketing world because of his contributions. States like Jharkand which has produced the best ever Indian captain came to the forefront because of him.”
“He was an inspiration, and in times of crisis we used to look upto him everytime. I would say this from the core of my heart that his passing away is tantamount to the death of the father of the nation in 1948 when Nehru had said: “the light has gone out of our lives.”