The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Ray to bat for Sourav at trial

Kanpur, Nov. 23: Former Bengal chief minister Siddhartha Shankar Ray, a legal eagle, will represent Team India captain Sourav Ganguly during Thursday's hearing by the International Cricket Council (ICC)-appointed appeals commissioner, Tim Castle.

Castle, who deferred the hearing till after the first Test here, is going to determine whether match referee Clive Lloyd's two-Test ban should be upheld. The hearing will be via a teleconference, with Sourav and Ray sitting in Delhi.

According to the ICC's Code of Conduct rules, Castle enjoys the power to increase/decrease the punishment handed out for India being five overs short in the November 13 Platinum Jubilee Cup face-off with Pakistan at the Eden.

Owing to the time difference ' barrister Castle, a New Zealander, resides in Wellington ' the hearing has been scheduled for noon (IST). Earlier, there was talk of 8 am.

Ray, a one-time Union law minister as well, is based in the capital and Sourav is going to head there immediately after the Test ends tomorrow. 'I'll drive to Lucknow and, then, take a 9 'clock flight....' he told The Telegraph tonight.

'The captain needs to be guided by a top legal brain, which is why Ray ' a keen cricketer in his younger days ' has been requested to help,' is how a well-placed source in the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) put it.

The ICC, one understands, has also agreed to the BCCI being represented by a lawyer ' Usha Nath Banerjee. He, too, is then going to feature in the teleconference. Ditto for Lloyd and the ICC's in-house lawyer, South African Urvasi Naidoo.

It's not clear whether Lloyd, one of the all-time greats of the sport, has also sought permission to engage a lawyer. What's confirmed is that he will be in London, as also Naidoo.

Whether Sourav can lead in the second and final Test, on home turf (Eden) from Sunday, is only going to be clear once the hearing concludes. Castle's decision will surely be quick as the next Test won't be many hours away.

'I'm keeping fingers crossed,' Sourav said. It's going to be the same across India.

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