| Sourav Ganguly
Calcutta, July 22: It’s ironical that a short-pitched delivery landed Sourav Ganguly in hospital (for stitches), some hours after he’d himself unleashed a bouncer at the heart of Jagmohan Dalmiya’s re-election campaign.
That was last evening.
On the morning after, the former India captain had pain in the jaw and was preparing for another trip to hospital (“a change in dressing is needed”) when The Telegraph called at his Northants’-provided apartment in Northampton.
“I was trying to pull Pakistan’s (Shahid) Nazir when I got hit' I’m on medication, but it’s hurting,” he said, adding that he be given a “couple of hours” before anything was asked.
Sourav, however, almost went mum on the second call: “There’s nothing to say'”
Asked whether, at least, he had a comment on obliquely tearing into one-time mentor Dalmiya, Sourav replied: “I’m not going to talk about individuals'. My email is directed at whoever leaked (Greg) Chappell’s one last year'”
Sourav’s email, addressed to relative Sanjoy Chatterjee ' not business associate Sanjoy Das as assumed, nor elder brother Snehashish, as claimed ' called for punishing those in the Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) who were “playing” with careers.
The email, which also lauded chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee’s initiative in “addressing” issues, was formally released by police commissioner Prasun Mukherjee, who is challenging Dalmiya for the top post.
Mukherjee is the chief minister’s candidate.
Chappell’s email, to the board last September, had savaged Sourav and landed him in the unfortunate state he’s in.
While Sourav didn’t elaborate, confidants have been insisting he isn’t holding Dalmiya responsible for the Chappell-leak.
“Whatever the timing and interpretation of his email, Sourav’s target is somebody very close to Dalmiya in the CAB'. That he stays protected is what continues to irk him,” is how one put it.
Perhaps, but nobody will buy that as the heat (in the lead-up to the July 30 elections) is exclusively on Dalmiya.
According to another confidant, Sourav was under “pressure” from June 19, when Bhattacharjee declared he wanted Dalmiya out and that Sourav had been asked to “take responsibility”.
The Dalmiya camp, though, dismissed it with contempt: “Isn’t the pressure so much more on Dalmiya, who runs a business in Bengal'”
The souring of relations began last October when Sourav was “hurt” that Dalmiya didn’t use his “influence” to defer the captain’s appointment and the selection of the squad for the first couple of ODIs, against Sri Lanka, by four-five days.
Coming just weeks after the flare-up with Chappell, that was a crucial stage in his career.
Owing to tennis elbow symptoms, Sourav wasn’t available for selection on the day (October 13) the selectors met in Mohali.
The rest is history.
Dalmiya’s view couldn’t be ascertained, but his control within the board had begun to diminish and it didn’t help that Sourav wasn’t prepared to risk aggravating his injury in the Challenger which coincided with that selection meeting.
Still, one learns Sourav hasn’t exactly forgotten the occasions when Dalmiya got him the best deal. Equally, he’s convinced he proved himself a “worthy” horse.
That he gave Dalmiya and India over 15,000 runs in Tests and ODIs.