Whether he is fielding in the slips or stationed at deep square leg or batting as an opener, Tata Cliq’s Sauvik Banerjjee is on cloud nine, as long as he is playing cricket. As CTO of Tata Cliq and Vice President of Tata Industries, he has also been a TedX speaker and a thought leader. He is also a professional cricketer who has represented Bengal in the Ranji Trophy matches.
When it comes to his weekends, cricket has been his passion for as long as he can remember. “I used to play minor county cricket and premier division club cricket,” he remembers. “We would play from October to May, during the cricket season. I played in the UK and in India, and still pursue the sport. Cricket is in my DNA and I have played since the age of 10.”
According to Sauvik, cricket is important to him as it is a sport that allows him to network. “I like knowing and hearing about the other side of people,” he says. “We used to play 50-overs games on Saturdays, but now it is a 20-20 format.”
Sauvik finds that playing cricket is a great way to relax and release the tension that is inevitable in high-pressure jobs. “It is also a game that can energise you,” he says.
He has played with great cricketers like Sourav Ganguly. They played in Mohun Bagan together, and later in the Ranji Trophy team. Sauvik also spends a lot of time watching cricket. “I would go to Eden Gardens, the cricket grounds in Leeds and The Oval to watch cricket. I like to watch the IPL matches too but the frequency has gone down now. These days, I watch only 2-3 games as there is a lot of work now and I want to spend time with my family,” he adds. His all-time favourite cricketer is Sir Viv Richards.
Yes, cricket does require a high level of fitness, he admits. “Nowadays, I train every alternate day and when the rainy season is over, I will start playing cricket again.
If I don’t exercise for a few days my body becomes rigid and my heads gets jammed up. Fitness is in the DNA of a sportsman."
Sauvik likes to say that the biggest advantage of being a sportsperson is that you are, by default, a people's person. It makes you a man manager, working with various dynamics, diversities, and egos. He learnt man management, people management, and the grooming of a new generation of leaders through the game.
As to the life lessons he has learnt from cricket, he says,
“I have done a PhD but all the MBA lessons I have learnt is from cricket, like strategy, operations, people management, process and conflict management, marketing, sales and much more. All key management modules I have learnt from cricket.”
According to Sauvik, India needs more TV to make the sport look good, and the best news today is the fact that cricket is no longer a rich man’s sport. Sauvik loves all the glamour associated with cricket nowadays. “Glamour is very essential,” he says. “IPL has changed the sport. Earlier, cricket could not be a person’s only career but today it can be a career for youngsters in Tier II cities and across the country.”
Sauvik is also a part of a team called Speech Bubbles in the UK. “We procure rights of famous comics and remould them,” he explains. “We have released various ones, the most popular being TNT in true Marvel style. It is a 100-year-old character from Bengali literature which has been made contemporary and made available to the reading public. The target demographics is not only kids but people over 30 years old.”
Sauvik is also very interested in making films. “My wife and I and a friend put together a couple of short films – namely Shadows of Time shown in the Sundance Film Festival, a Bengali crossover film and a few more short films. I am also doing animation films now,” he explains.
Sauvik finds the idea of making a film fascinating. “It is very exciting to come up with an idea and put it together for people to consume. I am also writing a book now, as I am a storyteller at heart.”