| Sourav Ganguly at the Calcutta airport on Tuesday morning. Picture by Santosh Ghosh
Calcutta: For somebody in the eye of an international storm, Sourav Ganguly looked remarkably calm on returning to his home town, Tuesday, after almost two months in the UK.
And, well, the rush for autographs (and photographs via camera phones) at the airport must have made the regular Team India captain feel at home straightaway.
Busy exclusively with Glamorgan for the past six weeks, Sourav leaves for Bangalore in the early hours of Wednesday.
He’s going to be back with the Welsh County after attending the first two days of the final conditioning camp for the 2005-06 season’s probables, being hosted by the National Cricket Academy.
Sourav’s travel plans are such he won’t miss a single match for Glamorgan, yet be around when coach Greg Chappell shares his “vision” with both the established lot and aspirants.
For now, though, most of the attention is on what the International Cricket Council (ICC)-initiated arbitration holds for our most successful Test captain.
“I’m not tense about being caught in no man’s land' I’ll go to Sri Lanka for the tri-series if the arbiter (Justice Albie Sachs) rules in my favour, I won’t if he doesn’t'
“The issue is beyond my control and I’m not allowing it to weigh on me,” he told The Telegraph.
Till late at night, there was no word from the ICC about when and how the eminent South African judge would conduct proceedings.
The world body, it may be recalled, appointed Justice Sachs after a plea from the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to reopen the ‘chapter’ on Sourav’s six-ODI ban.
He has already served out one-third of the punishment and, so, the ‘fight’ really is over four ODIs ' the exact number India need to play in the forthcoming tri-series’ league stage.
In fact, the BCCI is faced with a potentially awkward situation: What if Justice Sachs clears Sourav a day after the national selectors have appointed Rahul Dravid as captain and picked the tri-series squad'
To limit that possibility, it won’t surprise if the BCCI defers the selection ' slated, right now, for July 18 ' by a day or two.
Incidentally, even if Justice Sachs doesn’t rule in Sourav’s favour, he won’t extend his contract with Glamorgan.
“I’m contracted till July 26 and intend returning immediately thereafter' I can work on fitness and look forward to being chosen for the three Asia versus Africa ODIs besides, obviously, preparing for Zimbabwe,” he said.
Asked whether it was depressing being with a County which kept losing, Sourav replied: “I wouldn’t say so' We’ve been hit hard by retirements, an injury to Alex Wharf, Simon Jones’ England duties' Even Matthew Elliott has torn a cartilage'
“The losses notwithstanding, I’ve enjoyed my time with Glamorgan' The boys have been very nice, I’ve got some runs (379, at an average of 75-plus, in four Championship matches) and I’ve drawn on my experience with Lancashire'”
He elaborated: “For example, unlike in 2000, I’ve shared car rides' Elliott and I took turns driving from one city to the next' It suited me, it suited him' Pity he’s now out with a bad injury.”
Sourav signs off with the July 21-24 Championship match against Middlesex. Before that, he’s required for two (limited overs) National League fixtures ' on July 17 and 20, versus Worcestershire and Middlesex, respectively.
By the way, his arrival here was delayed by three-and-half hours owing to the cancellation of his original flight from New Delhi.
Sourav landed in the capital, from London, late Monday night.