India has seen many great captains like MAK Pataudi, Kapil Dev, MS Dhoni but in my opinion, Sourav Ganguly is the greatest Indian captain. I am aware of the fact that Dhoni’s stats as captain are better(which Ganguly himself has acknowledged) and Virat kohli also might end his captaincy career at a much more successful level in terms of stats. However, Dada was in a different league altogether.

Indian cricket was rocked by the match fixing scandal at the start of the millennium and Mohd. Azharuddin and a few others were sacked by the BCCI for their alleged involvement in match fixing. Those were troubled times for Indian cricket with the fans losing faith in their team and it was crucial to gain credibility by bringing in somebody who would be a Leader and not just a Captain. Sourav Ganguly, who made his debut in 1996 was assigned the role after Sachin Tendulkar stepped down as Captain. Ganguly was already the vice captain at that time and it was only logical that he was given the responsibility. Ganguly was known for his aggressive approach and never- say-die attitude. Indian cricket started rebuilding under him and there was no looking back from there.

The Indian team were always considered Lions at home and lambs while playing abroad. Ganguly strove to change that perception and motivated the team to win in tough conditions like Australia and England. The Natwest final victory in 2002 which will always be one of India’s finest was fashioned under Ganguly. A resurgent India won the Test series against world champions Australia in Australia in 2003-04. Ganguly also led India to the 2003 world cup final in South Africa. Team India shrugged off their ‘nice guys’ tag and Ganguly had a major contribution in creating self belief in the team. India started believing that they could win anywhere. The 2004 series win against Pakistan in Pakistan or the legendary 2001 test series against Australia at home was a testament to the fact that Ganguly and his team meant business. A new breed of young cricketers thrived under his captaincy and he encouraged everyone to the hilt. Ganguly created match winners out of players like Sehwag, Zaheer, Harbhajan, Dhoni and many more. He even sacrificed his own batting spot for Dhoni. Ganguly made Sehwag open the innings and it turned out to be a masterstroke. In the later stages of his career, he batted in the middle order and sacrificed his spot forever. He was a visionary in terms of taking Indian cricket forward. Ganguly taught us how to win. He laid the foundation for future captains by creating a team that was dominant. MS Dhoni greatly benefited from that when he became the Captain.

Sourav Ganguly or ‘Dada’ as he was fondly called was truly an inspiration. The word ‘Dada’ means elder brother in Marathi but at the same time, its colloquially used in a way to describe somebody who is the boss or the leader of a clan. In Ganguly’s case, both the meanings apply perfectly. He was DADA (Boss or Leader) on the field who would look the oppostion in the eye and challenge them but off the field, he was like an elder brother (DADA) to his team who would encourage and reprimand his team mates. Here’s wishing him a very happy birthday and hoping that he shall continue to serve Indian cricket as an Administrator for many many years to come.

Patanjali’s CORONIL: A Genuine cure or a Branding disaster?

On 22nd June, Patanjali announced that it had come up with a product called ‘Coronil’ that claims to cure Covid-19 and as expected, it grabbed the nation’s attention. TRP hungry news channels had a field day in broadcasting “BREAKING NEWS” and eyeball grabbing headlines as the entire country watched with unbridled joy. People were quick to preach the benefits of Ayurveda on social media and on family whatsapp groups. Twitter was largely divided with many people praising Baba Ramdev and many others criticising him as well. The product was launched with much fanfare by Patanjali founder Baba Ramdev and CEO Acharya Balkrishna. A day later, the AYUSH ministry of the central government stated that they had no information about the research study or test details carried out by Patanjali. They were rightly asked to stop advertising their medicine and the ministry sought details of the name and composition of medicines and ingredients used in the development of Coronil. The same news channels who were happily advertising the medicine a day earlier were now questioning Baba Ramdev’s claims. While further investigation is under way, Patanjali still claims a 100% success rate. The NIMS(National Institute of Medical sciences) in Jaipur also supported the claims saying that the Coronil trials did take place successfully.

It will be interesting to see whether the AYUSH ministry gives clearance to Coronil but from a branding perspective there’s a very important question which needs to be answered. Is Coronil a genuine cure or a branding disaster? Has Patanjali branded an “immunity boosting product” as a “cure”? In the current scenario where scientists and researchers all over the world are working round the clock to develop a vaccine for COVID 19, it would be a proud moment for India if Patanjali’s medicine works or turns out to be genuine. Their branding strategy looks over enthusiastic at the moment but only time will tell if its a winner or an eyewash. This is not the first time that Patanjali’s products have come under the scanner. In May 2018, Patanjali found themselves red faced after buyers complained that some of their Ayurvedic products were post dated(Customers who bought the product in March 2018 noticed that the manufacturing date mentioned on the packaging was of April 2018). The brand which is quite popular among Indians continues to prosper despite such controversies and setbacks. Its positioning as ‘Made in India’ also helps in attracting customers. At the time of writing this blog, the AYUSH ministry is investigating the veracity of Patanjali’s claims about Coronil and the verdict will be out soon. Till then, the debates and discussions about Patanjali,Ayurvedic medicine and its impact will continue.

The Man who had the power to stop an entire nation….

India is a country of more than a billion people (and still counting) and there are many things that we are obsessed with as a nation.Cricket is one such obsession. Perhaps it’s time to officially anoint cricket as the national game of India.

There are many legendary names like Sunil Gavaskar,Kapil Dev,Bishen Singh bedi,Tiger pataudi who  did really well for India in the Eighties and generated a lot of interest in the game.However,things changed in 1989 when a 15 year old school boy from Mumbai with a squeaky voice made his debut for India.Such was the impact of Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar on the game!! Until then, cricket was a game which was only ‘followed’.However,after he started playing,people started ‘worshipping’ the game and it almost became a religion.Other cricketers got money and fame because of cricket but Sachin was the only one who made cricket famous and rich (with his impeccable batting and determination).

When he started his international cricketing journey, he had only played school cricket and a season of domestic cricket and no wonder everybody was surprised when he was named in the Indian squad which had celebrated names like Ravi shastri,Navjyot sidhu,Dilip vengsarkar to name a few.However,very few knew that the boy was destined for greatness.He had become the poster boy of Indian cricket thanks to his batting exploits at the school level.There was no looking back for him once he had made his debut.It must have been so daunting for him to debut against a side like Pakistan who had notoriously fast and lethal bowlers.He played well against them and made people take notice.Suddenly,people wanted to watch more of him and he became a topic of discussion everywhere.The keys to Sachin’s success were simple: He was madly in love with cricket and wanted to play it more and more.He was blessed with an excellent understanding of the game.Lastly,he had a hunger for runs and winning.His work ethic was simply unbelievable and he always wanted to be the best that he could possibly be.He was the best student of the game.

Talent and ability is something that is intrinsic.However,attitude is something that one can imbibe.Very often,we see talented players go off the radar only because they don’t have the right attitude.Talent is not everything and that’s where Sachin was always ahead of his contemporaries.He had the right attitude and approach to his game backed by a tremendous ability.He worked extremely hard on his weaknesses (which were very few) and perfected his strengths.He was always under the spotlight and every time he walked out to bat,a nation watched with bated breath.He successfully carried the burden of a nation’s expectations on his shoulders all his career.Whenever he failed,a billion people mourned whereas when he succeeded,the nation celebrated their favourite son’s accomplishments.He had the power to stop an entire nation in its tracks.Whenever he was batting,people would watch and cheer for him from their homes and a nation would come to a standstill.While I was growing up,it was a common sight to see people switching off their TV sets as soon as Tendulkar had been dismissed because for them,Sachin was cricket and cricket was Sachin.

Some of the best bowlers in world cricket like Wasim Akram,Waqar younis,Shane Warne,Glenn Mcgrath,Muttiah muralitharan looked ordinary when Sachin was batting against them.He was a fine batsman- the greatest we have ever seen.He was and will always be ‘THE GOD”.