| Sourav Ganguly at Naveen Patnaik’s office. Pix: Sanjib Mukherjee
Bhubaneswar, April 11: Former Team India skipper Sourav Ganguly today had a brief chat with chief minister Naveen Patnaik amid growing speculation about a possible cricket academy or an Odissi dance academy in the state.
Sourav reached here around 10 this morning and accompanied by national selector Ranjib Biswal went around a few temples where he reportedly fulfilled his “mansik” (wish). “It was a private visit. After the temple visit, he met Jay Panda, the MP of Biju Janata Dal who requested him to make a courtesy call to the chief minister,” said Biswal.
The meeting with Patnaik, was, however, a brief one for about 10 minutes.
Although mediapersons were waiting outside the chief minister’s chamber, Sourav disappointed everyone as he left for Calcutta without speaking a word, let alone on the “cricket academy”.
Biswal said there was no truth that Sourav had asked either for land for a proposed cricket or a dance academy. “Did he have any papers with him when he met the chief minister' It was nothing more than a courtesy call. Please don’t read anything between the lines,” Biswal said while trying to scotch speculations.
But a well-established source at the chief minister’s office said Patnaik’s meeting with Sourav was fixed two days ago. “These things are not done in a hurry,” the source said. Even local lad Sib Sundar Das, a former Test player, was pleasantly surprised when informed about Sourav’s visit. “Was he here' If he sets up a cricket academy here, it would be huge help for youngsters,” he said.
There were also reports that the stylish southpaw sought Patnaik’s assistance in getting land for an Odissi dance academy proposed to be started by his Odissi danseuse wife Dona.
Dona, however, denied the speculation saying, “I may set up a dance school there. But I don’t think he (Sourav) had asked for land for that....nothing of that sorts”.