Sourav Ganguly, Former Indian Cricket Captain (File Photo).
Kolkata: Sourav Ganguly is out of town, currently busy with World Cup commentary duties in England but his fans didn't miss out on the opportunity to celebrate the former India captain's birthday here on Monday.
Besides wishing their own 'Dada' on his 47th birthday, Ganguly's fans also wished luck to the Indian cricket team ahead of its World Cup semi-final against New Zealand at Manchester on Tuesday.
One of the most ardent fans of Ganguly near his home in Behala here is Ratan Halder, who runs a fan club since 2005. He celebrated his idol's birthday by distributing sweets and cakes to school children and also erected a giant banner of the current Indian team to wish them luck.
The fan club will show India's World Cup semi-final live on a giant screen as Halder has arranged food for 100 people to watch the game in a lively atmosphere.
Like last time, this time too Ganguly was away on his birthday but Halder ensured that he kept the tradition alive as he called about 30 kids from neighbouring areas for the customary cake cutting ceremony.
"Earlier the birthday celebrations used to be huge. Nowadays Dada remains busy so we do it quietly," Halder told PTI with a tinge of regret.
"But this time his birthday is coinciding with the World Cup and with India's match tomorrow we have some plans. I've arranged a projector and the menu is also decided. We will cheer for India together," he said, revealing the rice and chicken curry menu for the feast.
"We hope that India make the final and then we will do it in a grand way at the Sourav Ganguly fan club."
Another Ganguly fan, Shantanu Saha, who is also a cricket coach and runs an academy near Behala, also has plans in place to celebrate the former skipper's birthday.
"Dada may not be here in Kolkata, but we don't miss this date. The trainees will assemble after their school and we will have a birthday bash as usual. This time we are wishing Dada luck to become the next BCCI president," Saha said.
Meanwhile, Ganguly made debut on Instagram and posted a photo of cake cutting ceremony.
"As I turn another year older today, I want to make this a year where I give back to my fans. So here's to birthdays and new beginnings," the former skipper captioned his first image on Instagram where he is seen cutting a cake," Ganguly captioned the photo.
Ganguly's former teammates Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag took to twitter to wish the legend.
Tendulkar tweeted a photo of their young days with a caption: "Happy Birthday Dadi! From playing with you in our Under-15 days to now commentating with you. It's been quite a journey. Have a great year ahead!"
Sehwag added: "Happy Birthday to a 56" Captain, Dada @SGanguly99! 56 inch chest, 8th day of the 7th month, 8*7 = 56 and a World Cup average of 56. #HappyBirthdayDada , May God Bless You !," Sehwag wrote in his birthday tweet with a statbox of Ganguly's World Cup career record where he averaged 55.88.
Considered as one of the most successful captains of India, Ganguly has scored 11363 runs in 311 ODIs, the third-highest run-scorer for the country in the 50-over-format.