Former Indian captain Sourav Ganguly turned 47 on Monday and though he was not in the city due to World Cup commentary duties, his fans celebrated the occasion while former teammates offered good wishes on social media.
One of the most well-known 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 cake to school children besides unveiling a giant banner to wish luck to the current Indian team, which will take on New Zealand in the World Cup semifinal on Tuesday.
The fan club will show India's World Cup semi-final live on a giant screen and Halder claims to have arranged food for 100 people to watch the game.
"Earlier the birthday celebrations used to be huge. Nowadays Dada remains busy so we do it quietly," Halder told PTI.
"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."
Ganguly, on the other hand, made his debut on Instagram and posted a photo of a 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.
Another Ganguly fan, Shantanu Saha, who is also a cricket coach and runs an academy near Behala, also had 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.
Ganguly's former teammates Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag took to Twitter to wish the legend.
Tendulkar tweeted a photo of their younger 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!"
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! pic.twitter.com/Ijnder6RJN— Sachin Tendulkar (@sachin_rt) July 8, 2019
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.
Happy Birthday to a 56” Captain , Dada @SGanguly99 !— Virender Sehwag (@virendersehwag) July 8, 2019
56 inch chest,
8th day of the 7th month, 8*7 = 56 and a World Cup average of 56. #HappyBirthdayDada , May God Bless You ! pic.twitter.com/Dcgj9jrEUE
Considered one of the most successful captains of India, Ganguly scored 11,363 runs in 311 ODIs, the third highest run-scorer for the country in the 50-over-format.