The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Play & politics never too far
Sourav on Friday

March 10: Dada versus Didi (Mamata) sounds like a humdinger of a show. But tarry a while, it ain’t happening yet, though the only game in town for much of the day and part of the evening was speculation about Sourav Ganguly campaigning for the CPM.

He isn’t done with cricket, Dada said, putting a stop to the feverish play of rumours. Comeback, he added, was more important to him than campaign, however much Kiran More, the chief selector, might want to put the former captain out to grass.

Anyway, it’s a cud Sourav didn’t want to chew on. “I don’t want to get into what kept me out. The bottomline is I am out. And I have to strive to get back.”

More had said Sourav didn’t fit into the team’s long-term plans.

The talk all day was, however, about some other game plan ' to some it sounded more like a retirement plan when reports suggested Sourav would campaign for the CPM in the coming polls.

The rumour started from a comment by politburo member Sitaram Yechury who was left wondering at the end of an exasperating day: what happened to people’s sense of humour'

On a day the CPM politburo was meeting to discuss such weighty matters as India’s policy on Iran, he was asked if Sourav would campaign for the party.

“He is a good batsman but he can bat only if there is a bowler against us. There are no bowlers,” Yechury said in jest.

Just the fuel for the fire, as it turned out. The comment was taken to mean confirmation of the speculation.

So what did general secretary Prakash Karat think' “The CPM politburo does not discuss these things,” he told this paper. “This is the first time I am hearing of it,” Karat added, laughing his heart out.

Sense of humour wasn’t missing here. Why, it would be nice if the politburo could discuss only such things as Sourav!

The rumour didn’t die but gave birth to a flurry of denials. First it was Asok Bhattacharya, Bengal’s urban development minister. “We want him to play more cricket.”

Sourav himself took the field later. “I am sure all these leaders also want me to play well and return to the team.”

The former captain and Yechury had a chat to clear things up. “I told Sourav ‘this is all bakwas. I never said anything like this (about campaigning),’” Yechury said when contacted by The Telegraph.

Sourav confirmed the conversation: “He said he had been misrepresented.”

One other rumour was circulating during the day: that Sourav met cricket board chief Sharad Pawar. They apparently did have a 15-minute interaction last night.

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