Thursday, January 27, 2022

Amal Dutta part of rare breed that thrived on doing what they loved

Amal Dutta's system served Mohun Bagan rather well over the years. One could follow their successes and having met him, smile at his teachings.

Written by Jaideep Ghosh |
July 14, 2016 11:52:49 am
Amal Dutta, amal dutta footballer, amal dutta sports, amal dutta east bengal, amal dutta mohun bagan, amal dutta sports, amal dutta kolkata, ddca, ck khanna, justice mudgal, sports blogs West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee paid her last respects to Amal Dutta, former India footballer and ‘diamond’ coach who died in Kolkata on Sunday. (Source: PTI)

It isn’t often that you come across people who are absolute icons in their sports. It is even rarer to come across people who have made a mark for themselves in sports beyond cricket.

Amal Dutta was one such man, and as it turned out, my first and last interaction with Dutta is one of the high points of my career as a sports journalist.

It was one spring afternoon in the second half of the 1990s that I came across Dutta, right outside The Statesman building in downtown Calcutta.

Dutta was parking his Bajaj scooter, which was possibly the most broken down machine that I’ve ever seen, while I was returning  from the Maidan – the headquarter of all sports in the city – with my Sports Editor, Shyam Sundar Ghosh.

Shyamda hailed Dutta and we all entered the office, where I sat across the desk as Dutta picked up a pencil and piece of scrap paper and drew out the Diamond System placements as he explained them to me.

The selections of hexagons, where players were the points at all the angles, allowed for the ball to be fed through some intricate movements, and then passed through the defence to feed the striker and release him, free on his way to the goal.

It was quite complicated, the whole thing, and I pretended I understood as I saw him off, waiting patiently as he eventually managed to kick his broken down machine to life.

“Watch the derby on Sunday,” he said before leaving in a plume of smoke. “We will use the system.”

So Sunday came, and I was at a friend’s place in North Calcutta, a friend who was a hardcore Mohun Bagan supporter.

It turned out to be a disaster for the Mariners. By my recollection, East Bengal scored four goals (it could be five) and Mohun Bagan managed one, quite a sensational strike by Chima Okorie.

I returned home, rather ecstatic as I was a diehard East Bengal man.

But as days passed, a little regret did creep in. Dutta was so enthusiastic. As it turned out, the system did serve Mohun Bagan rather well over the years. One followed their successes and smiled in recollection of that educative afternoon.

Dutta passed away on July 10, and it’s with added regret that I state here that we couldn’t meet up more often. In a world that thrives on commercialisation and opportunism, Amal Dutta was a part of that rare breed who plied their trade out of sheer love for what they did.

May his soul rest in peace.

Cricket’s Delhi delights:

One look at the Justice Mudgal Committee report, submitted to the Delhi High Court on Monday, and you’re left asking one question. Why does anyone need a committee to come to this conclusion?

Anyone who has been in and around the Delhi and Districts Cricket Association, the bar there, the sleazy, wild west shacks and the excessively oily, smiling officials who greet you a long lost brother should give you enough information to tell you what Justice Mudgal took so long to realise.

CK Khanna-fb

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The gentleman has gone on to state that DDCA vice-president C.K. Khanna has no interest whatsoever in promoting cricket and is only interested in self-promotion, using his slew of proxy votes and complimentary passes to curry favour with all.

Again, I state with all politeness and humility. Did we need a committee to find that out?

What Justice Mudgal and all concerned have missed, barring stating the obvious, is that they are asking the BCCI to control the goings-on in DDCA. That in itself is ironic, not to mention a little naive.

One thing DDCA and the Feroz Shah Kotla complex in nestles have in common – they have survived.

The walls have seen battle, wear and tear, age and pollution, not to mention the hulking monstrosity of the Kotla stadium coming up barely 50 feet away, and survived.

ALSO READ | I don’t have any Conflict of Interest against me, says BCCI vice-president CK Khanna

Similarly, DDCA has looked many do-gooders, keen to change the entire place and make it squeaky clean, and smiled.

The organisation has outlived many superheroes and powers that be and is carrying on regardless, its saga of managing things, living from one deadline to the other and bending the rule having earned folklore status.

If Khanna is the man under the microscope, then it would automatically also throw up the question – why him alone? Surely this place isn’t run on the whims and fancies of just one vice-president? That is where the real problem lies. Every person associated with the DDCA – from officials to politicians to civic authorities and everyone with even a smidgen of ‘contacts’, has used the Kotla, its free passes and such like to get favours from every quarter.

Justice Mudgal, Justice Mukul Mudgal, Rajkumar Tiwari, Rajkumar Tiwari skating, Rajkumar Tiwari financial help, Rajkumar Tiwari Justice Mudgal, Sports Figure skater Rajkumar Tiwari will recieve Rs. 2 lakh from Justice Mukul Mudgal.

ALSO READ | Justice Mudgal helps create an unlikely champion Rajkumar Tiwari

All Khanna did was get the game and play it as well as anyone. So much so that one uncharitable former player calls DDCA a “tailor-made organisation”, referring to his garment export business.

Justice Mudgal’s report is something that anyone associated with DDCA has known for years. There’s another thing we all know – nothing much will happen. Kotla will smile and survive.

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