The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Trouble snaps at Sourav heels

Calcutta, Jan. 3: Maybe this was why Sourav Ganguly didn’t want to play Ranji. Trouble.

First, he was prohibited from bowling for running into the danger area in his follow-through. Then, reprimanded for coming out to bat late.

The former India captain has been keeping his mouth firmly shut to avoid taking one wrong step off the field, but his feet strayed on it while he was bowling against Tamil Nadu at Eden Gardens on the first day of the match.

At the end of the day, his three wickets were overshadowed by three offences of stepping on the danger zone that ruled him out of bowling in the first innings.

Bengal didn’t suffer much because Tamil Nadu was bowled out for 218, but trouble stuck to Sourav with greater perseverance than, say, chief selector Kiran More.

It was More who set the ball rolling that led to the cricket board asking Sourav, and three other members of the Pakistan-bound India team, to play Ranji matches.

Sourav came to the crease with Bengal reeling at 20 for 3. Shortly, umpires K. Hariharan and B.S. Bhatti suspended play for bad light. Bengal was 32 for 3 when the players and even the umpires left the field only to come back after 10 minutes when light improved.

As Sourav (batting on 8) and Avishek Jhunjhunwala (unbeaten on 16) returned, the light dropped again and the umpires called off play for the day. But they were seen talking to Sourav in the middle.

Later, Hariharan, who had prohibited Sourav from bowling after two warnings for running on to the middle, said the umpires found him guilty of “taking a long time” to return to the field after the teams were called out for resumption of play.

“He took a long time to come back, so we gave him an advice,” Hariharan said.

Match referee Kiran Mokashi of Mumbai, however, revealed that Sourav was “reprimanded”.

He added that “Sourav would not be fined or face any action since we understand that there has been a communication gap (between the players and the umpires)”.

Sourav apparently thought play had been called off and took off his gear.

Tamil Nadu coach B. Arun said his players, too, had taken suspension of play as close.

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