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50 matches under belt; he opts for new innings

. photo:R. Ashok

T. Ganesan, former Station Director, All India Radio, in Tiruchi


Not many would have had the pleasure of watching even a single cricket test match. But here was a man who not only witnessed a host of matches but also gave running commentary in All India Radio to a record 50 test matches involving all the cricket playing nations over a period of 25 years. His was a household name in the 1970s and 1980s in the State, before the advent of television, as radio commentary was the only choice for following cricket. After retirement from service, he did not evince much interest in the game, as it has been totally commercialised. But he started concentrating on writing books on sports. Now he is currently involved in the work of translating the speeches made by late Rajaji on various occasions into Tamil and this has again brought him into limelight.

I enjoy this job as I get a lot of personal satisfaction, says T.Ganesan, former Station Director of All India Radio in a chat with Syed Muthahar Saqaf.

It was the importance accorded for sports at Puthur Bishop Heber Higher Secondary School and later at the Jamal Mohamed College which attracted him towards sports activities . Dhanam and Jesudass, both physical education teachers in the school, and S.Thiyagarajan, physical education director at the college, gave him all the needed encouragement to blossom as a good and disciplined sportsman. Later when he joined the AIR, his keen interest in sports convinced the top officials to assign him the job of coordinating running commentaries for the top sports events. Ramamoorthy, a reputed commentator, on noticing young Ganesan's immense knowledge and interest in sports, convinced the AIR authorities to include him as a member of the commentators' panel. Thus began the long and eventful journey of Mr.Ganesan . He gave commentary in Tamil in AIR for over 50 test matches from 1977 – 2002.

He gave running commentary for Davis Cup tennis tournament, national hockey and football tournaments. “In those days, test matches were very few. Only one match was played a year at Chepauk,” he says.

“I still cherish the moment when Wasim Akram, Pakistan skipper, praised the Chennai crowd, which gave standing ovation to the Pakistan team after scoring a hard fought win over India in 1998, and the one day game between India and Australia which ended in a tie.” He had moved closely with many cricket greats.

‘Tiger' Pataudi was considered ‘captain courageous.' He had deep knowledge of the game, but was highly composed in his disposition.

Sunil Gavaskar was a tough, but highly disciplined cricketer. Kapil Dev was always simple and unassuming. He authored four books, all in Tamil . Recently a serious tragedy struck Mr. Ganesan. He tried to come out of this by reading the works of Rajaji – speeches made by Rajaji during the period 1949-1954 in various capacities brought out by Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Mumbai. The speech delivered by Rajaji during the first death anniversary of Gandhiji had a telling impact on him and helped him to restore his normal posture. “I decided to translate the works into Tamil seven months ago so that the whole society should benefit from it. I have already completed the same. The speeches of Rajaji on education, culture, economics, science, nuclear weapons, democracy suit the present day atmosphere too”, he signed off.

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