The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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‘Action’ after quiet entry

Dambulla: The salubrious Culture Club Resort was expecting Sourav Ganguly around 3.30 am on Monday. The former Team India captain didn’t make anybody wait ' in fact, he reached six-seven minutes earlier.

The customary welcome drink was offered as also a cold towel. Sourav declined both, signed the guests’ registration form and requested that he be “quickly” taken to his room (actually, a chalet).

After two flights and a three-and-half hour drive, from Colombo, Sourav was quite tired. Perhaps, hungry as well, for he helped himself to the fruits basket in his chalet.

Sourav’s arrival was low-key ' at that hour, it couldn’t have been otherwise ' but the day unfolded differently.

From interacting with successor Rahul Dravid and coach Greg Chappell to nets where he batted (for some 20 minutes) and bowled to going ballistic over his omission from the Asia squad... It was eventful with a capital E.

Till he lost his cool, though, Sourav had been a picture of correctness. He chose words with care, probably disappointing those who sought to ‘welcome’ him with a controversy.

However, Sourav didn’t disappoint Chappell, who made nets optional once the former captain said he wanted a “workout.”

Chappell personally bowled a dozen ‘practice’ balls before asking Sourav to take guard for nets proper. Lakshmipathy Balaji and Jai Prakash Yadav worked up a good pace; sports scientist Ian Frazer filmed every movement.

“Yeah, Sourav batted very well... That’s the way he bats most of the time,” Chappell told The Telegraph as he prepared to leave the Rangiri International Stadium for the team hotel.

Incidentally, Sourav will bat at No. 3 in case he doesn’t open with Virender Sehwag. If fit, V.V.S. Laxman ' he, too, featured in the optional nets ' is the one most likely to partner Sehwag.

Laxman maintained he had recovered from back muscle spasms, but Chappell indicated he would prefer waiting a bit longer before ‘clearing’ him.

India’s next match in the tri-series, against Sri Lanka, is on Wednesday.

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