Calcutta, July 21: For one known to speak straight, in the dressing room and outside, Sourav Ganguly chose to rip apart one-time mentor Jagmohan Dalmiya in an oblique manner.
That, too, via an email nine days before the Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) elections, where Dalmiya is up against police commissioner Prasun Mukherjee.
Mukherjee has been hand-picked by chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, whose dislike for Dalmiya isn’t a state secret.
In fact, Bhattacharjee publicly declared he didn’t want Dalmiya’s innings at the Dr B.C. Roy Club House, where the CAB is headquartered, to continue.
With “issues” not getting resolved, as Dalmiya put it, he filed his nomination this afternoon. Exactly 33 days after the ‘I-want-Dalmiya-out’ call.
That the former International Cricket Council, Asian Cricket Council and Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) president would fight was reported by The Telegraph on July 2.
While Sourav’s email has indirectly endorsed Mukherjee’s candidature, many also see it as a move to appease BCCI president Sharad Pawar, whose regime has been gunning for Dalmiya.
One argument is that pleasing Pawar may facilitate Sourav’s comeback. However, that can only be on the strength of solid performances ' excellent example being Dinesh Mongia, who has just made a return after 15 months.
Sourav, who hasn’t played for India after the Karachi Test in February, is struggling even in England where he’s turning out for Northamptonshire.
So, it’s debatable whether the email helps. Yet, there’s little doubt many will now see Sourav as being ungrateful.
Among other instances, it’s not entirely unknown that Dalmiya (being the BCCI secretary) played a role in Sourav’s recall No. 1 ' after over four years ' for the 1996 tour of England.
V.V.S. Laxman lost out.
Today, Dalmiya merely said: “I’m no longer in power in the BCCI'. Since I have nothing to give, I no longer expect loyalty.”
The email, of course, came more than a month after the Dalmiya-baiters promised Sourav would soon “give his views”. Mukherjee himself made it public.
The email wasn’t anywhere as lengthy as coach Greg Chappell’s Sourav-damning communication to the BCCI brass, leaked last September, but didn’t lack explosiveness.
Hinting at Dalmiya, most influential till eight-nine months ago, Sourav clobbered him for “playing” with his career.
While Mukherjee said the email had been sent to elder brother Snehashish, it is addressed to a business associate. Unless the elder Ganguly has an ID which doesn’t bear his name.
Eyebrows have been raised at the language (“heavy punished” and “left scot free”), for Sourav is very pucca with his English, but Mukherjee wouldn’t have done the honours if it hadn’t come from Northampton.
Sourav, who received stitches after being hit in the Northants vs Pakistan match, couldn’t be reached for a comment till late tonight.
With both candidates having filed nominations and their respective panels as good as finalised (one Nemai Charan Dutta figuring in both), the focus is on votes.
Former BCCI and CAB president B.N. Dutt has emerged a key player.
Dalmiya, it appears, is strong on numbers in the 121-member electorate. Not that Mukherjee isn’t working overtime ' in Lalbazar and beyond.