Deep Dasgupta is the present Captain of the Bengal Ranji Side. He is a Wicket Keeper-Batsman who once served India as a makeshift opener in Test Matches. Dasgupta helped India with some fine knocks including a century against England but he couldn’t really create an impact through his glove work. He has been serving Bengal Cricket quite admirably for the last few seasons with both bat and his wicket keeping. Here is what he had to say to BV Swagath about his Career on September 4, 2006, his Team mate and Former India Captain, Sourav Ganguly and other aspects…
Well Deep, Bengal team had lifted its game and had ended up as runners up in last season’s Ranji Trophy Championship. So are you guys happy with the way you are playing as a team?
Definitely, we are happy with the progress we had made last year but I think it would be concrete only if we kind of keep this performance going for a period of time. I mean just one year doesn’t mean anything and prove anything. Definitely we had played well but the idea is to keep on going like this for as long as possible.
So what is the goal for Bengal this season? You have a well balanced team, isn’t it?
We do have a good side; we have a good balanced side with senior players and juniors and with Sourav coming in, that really helps. As far as the goal is concerned, it is to take one match at a time and follow the routines we had planned from last year onwards. In our team every person has his own role to play and the idea is to individually fulfill their roles.
Okay then the Captain of the Bengal Team, Deep Dasgupta, what does he think of his new role of marshalling the resources on the field? How easy or tough is it to lead Bengal?
See it is an honour to lead Bengal, I mean it is a state where people are very enthusiastic and are very passionate about sports. And to lead a team of really talented guys is amazing. I mean it is a fact that everybody knows that we have been underperforming for a period of time for the kind of talent we have and the players we have, we definitely should be playing a lot better than this. And that’s exactly what we had proved last season to the world and for ourselves that we are good enough to be right up there amongst the best.
You have a potent new ball pair of Shib Sankar Paul and Ranadeb Bose who have been taking wickets on a consistent basis. Could you tell us more about these two pacers for the benefit of all the domestic cricket fans?
We have Shib Sankar Paul who was in the 30 probables list for the Champions Trophy; he has been bowling really well for the last three-four seasons. In fact he along with Ranadeb Bose, who was there in the Challenger Trophy, attended a couple of India A camps last year. I think it is a big bonus for us, both of them are wicket taking bowlers and both of them are different kind of bowlers. Both these bowlers aren’t tear away quicks but they are quick off the wicket and they move the ball a lot, they have plenty of experience having played for about five years of first class cricket. So that really helps and they are ably backed up by Sourasish Lahiri who was one of the top wicket takers in last season. He is a top off spinner and he is bowling really well in last couple of seasons.
Could you tell us all the memories about your Test Match Debut at Bloemfontein in 2001, a Test Match better known for Virender Sehwag’s century on Debut? You had a good start with the bat but then you had to toil hard for more than 140 overs on the field later?
That was an awesome start, in fact I wasn’t supposed to be playing in that Test Match. But in the morning of the Test Match, 30-40 minutes before the Toss I think, Samir Dighe, who was supposed to be the No.1 Keeper had a back spasm. So he wasn’t fit enough to play and Sourav came up to me and said that “you are playing”. It was a great experience playing at Bloemfontein against South Africa which was a top bowling side on a good wicket to get an opportunity to play my first Test Match. And the best part as you said, Viru’s hundred and I had the opportunity of standing at the other end watching Viru play some amazing shots and be at the time when he had got to his hundred.
Your Maiden Test Hundred had helped India win against England at Mohali, could you relive that test match for us?
Well nothing, I was just concentrating one ball at a time and that’s what it was, taking one ball at a time. My job was to stay there while you had people like Rahul, Sachin, Sourav and Laxman coming in. So like I said my job was just to be there and help them out with their game and be there for as long as possible. That’s what I had done and I was there for 5-6 hours and the runs came by and I got to a hundred.
Your initial steps in cricket were quite a story, isn’t it? You were coached by a woman if I am not mistaken and you had scored a century on first class debut against Baroda in 1998? Talk us about that.
That’s right, I was coached by a lady called Sunita Sharma when I was in Delhi. She won the Dronacharya Award last year. I had shifted over to Calcutta, when I was 16 and I played Under 19 for Bengal and East Zone. So that’s that and I got a break in the Ranji Side when I was 20 and yeah the best part was getting a hundred in my first game against Baroda.
People remember you more for your resolute batting in test matches more than your keeping. What are your comments?
Nothing much, I mean it’s for people what they want to think or say, that’s their opinion and I can’t do anything about that. All I can say is that I still think that I am a Wicket Keeper who can bat and that’s what it is.
I have asked this question to several other Indian Wicket Keepers. Now we would like to know from Deep Dasgupta what kind of adjustments he had to make while keeping to Anil Kumble and Harbhajan Singh?
See we have to understand that those two are of a different class altogether where they get a lot more bounce and more turn from the wicket than anyone else on Indian wickets. So you got to make your adjustments because you expect the ball to come a lot quicker, bounce a lot higher and turn a lot more than most of the other spinners you keep in the Domestic Circuit. So that way, you have to make such adjustments and likewise I did and may be I made lot more changes than I should have. May be it’s because I listen to lot of people and may be I was better off keeping just the way I was.
Greg Chappell thinks that Sourav Ganguly has a negative influence on the players. Tell us since you are very close to him being a team mate, how does Sourav Dada gets along with his Bengal team mates?
See I don’t know about other people what they think but as far as the Bengal Dressing Room is concerned, he has been good. He makes all these youngsters feel very comfortable because when most of them come into the Dressing Room to see someone like Sourav Ganguly who has 15000 International Runs with I think 34 international hundreds, it is very inspiring. You don’t generally get to feel like he had achieved such great feats and he is very down to earth kind of person when he is in the Bengal Dressing Room and the youngsters are very happy to be around him. He talks with them and helps them out, so as far as Bengal Dressing Room is concerned, he is not a problem at all.
Now that you are leading the Bengal Side, how does Sourav Ganguly help you out on the field?
He does help me out a lot, I mean if he has any plan or anything for a bowler or a batsman in his mind, he just comes up to me and says “Deep, you can try this out”. And the best part is that he doesn’t expect me to do whatever moves he suggests. There is no compulsion on me and he wouldn’t say “Deep, you have to do this” and he doesn’t get upset or sad about it when I don’t do what he had suggested. He leaves the decision making entirely on me and that’s really great. And whenever we are in a tricky situation, I go up to him and ask “What do you think I should be doing now” and he is always there to help me out.
Tell us what kind of person is Deep Dasgupta is and what does he do apart from playing cricket?
Well, I think I am an easy going, fun loving kind of guy. If I am not playing cricket, I try to spend as much as time possible with my family. I have got a wonderful wife and a year and a half old amazingly cute son who always keeps me busy.