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Sourav is vice-captain at Mahela’s behest
- Three-match Afro-Asia cup

Bangalore: Former India captain and senior pro Sourav Ganguly will be Asia’s vice-captain during the three-match (second) Afro-Asia Cup, which gets underway here on Wednesday.

Ironically, Sourav hadn’t even been picked in the original XIV. He only made it as a replacement for Sachin Tendulkar. The maestro withdrew for “personal” reasons.

Asia’s selectors didn’t name a vice-captain when they chose the squad some three weeks ago, but captain Mahela Jayawardene suggested that Sourav be anointed the No. 2.

“Mahela said that he would like Sourav to take charge if he happened to go off the field... Being the vice-captain, Sourav would also then be part of the selection committee during the tournament,” Asian Cricket Council chief executive officer Syed Ashraful Huq told The Telegraph.

Sourav, it may be recalled, had been Asia’s captain during the high-profile tsunami fund-raiser at the MCG, in January 2005. Seven months later, however, he wasn’t found good enough for the inaugural Afro-Asia Cup.

Edition No.2, of course, marks Sourav’s return to limited overs cricket: He’d been ‘rested’ for the three ODIs in Bangladesh.

“It’s not exactly going to be a comeback, still... I’ve always enjoyed ODIs... It’s nice that I’ve got an opportunity,” Sourav remarked, adding that he’d been “touched” by Jayawardene’s gesture.

Asia’s manager Sultan Rana, meanwhile, arrived in the early hours of Tuesday. On Sunday night, he’d been deported to Kuala Lumpur for no fault of his.

“I didn’t make an issue of the incident then and wouldn’t like to make one now,” Rana, who was humiliated because of an error on the part of the Indian high commission in Kuala Lumpur, maintained.

He’s a Pakistani passport-holder.

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