The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Pawar chat skirts Sourav
- Board president calls Dalmiya, but silent on letter

Calcutta, Dec. 18: Sharad Pawar and Jagmohan Dalmiya had their first one-on-one since the Sourav Ganguly controversy exploded, last evening, but the former Team India captain wasn’t talked about.

“The president wanted clarifications about something connected with the International Cricket Council' That’s why he called Dalmiya,” a top Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) official told The Telegraph.

Asked why Sourav got bypassed during those few minutes, particularly as Dalmiya had called for his reinstatement, the official replied: “Because, like Dalmiya, Mr Pawar wanted to go public' As you know, he eventually did, releasing his (negative) response to the media.”

Dalmiya, a one-time BCCI president and world body chief, wasn’t available for comment. Having made a written representation, he probably felt it would be awkward raising it over the telephone, too.

Not that it’s really of consequence, but Dalmiya apparently hadn’t received Pawar’s reply till he left for Ahmedabad this afternoon.

According to former BCCI joint-secretary Goutam Das Gupta, the Dalmiya group is to meet there tomorrow and the day after ' the second and third days of the final Test against Sri Lanka in Motera.

That will coincide with official meetings in New Delhi.

“We’ve been invited for the match'. There’s no agenda as such, but the group plans a stock-taking exercise of sorts. We haven’t met since the AGM and it’s necessary to make an assessment,” Das Gupta informed. Sourav’s exclusion won’t be part of the discussions, he said.

That’s sensible as Sourav has to come back on his own steam, not by becoming a rallying point for the opposition. Incidentally, he was missed in Motera.

With Pawar pulling out all the stops, the Dalmiya group got thrashed in the last elections. The Union minister himself got 20 of the 31 votes, with each of his candidates securing 18.

Intriguingly, among those with Dalmiya in Ahmedabad is an office-bearer of the Tripura association. That northeastern state, one learns, was “compelled” to vote for Pawar.

Meanwhile, the squad (15-strong, as of now) for the tour of Pakistan beginning on January 6, is likely to be selected in Mumbai on December 23 or 24.

It’s almost certain that Kiran More and his colleagues won’t do the picking either on the penultimate or the last day (December 22) of the ongoing Test.

One understands Pawar wishes to have a “word or two” with the five selectors before they name the squad. He’s probably more comfortable with Mumbai being the venue.

While Pawar doesn’t want to interfere with the selection process, he has still gone on record saying he would like to know why Sourav got dropped.

Pawar briefly met chairman More in Motera this morning, but spoke “generally,” as a source put it. Not that a very public one-on-one is needed to convey something.

Again, it’s not confirmed, but the players’ contracts for 2005-06 may also be finalised on the day the squad for Pakistan is selected.

The process has already been delayed.

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