Ignored and humiliated at this year’s IPL auctions – former Indian skipper Sourav Ganguly made a dramatic comeback in the cash-rich league by sinning a deal for Pune Warriors India in place of an injured Ashish Nehra.
Sourav Ganguly who captained Kolkata Knight Riders for the first and third season was given a cold shoulder by Shah Rukh Khan co-owned franchise and was also ignored by nine others who didn’t bid for him during the auctions.
The Sahara Pune Warriors had a disastrous start having lost six consecutive matches under the captaincy of Yuvraj Singh. With the batting looking weak and depleted, the Sahara group couldn’t have thought for a better replacement as Ganguly brings with him vast experience. Conforming the news- Pune Warriors team director Abhijit Sarkar said that “roping in Ganguly was not a gamble and he would prove his worth with the former India captain being the “best cricketing brain” in the country.
“He is playing in IPL not for money but to prove a point. He deserves a lot of respect, but not the way he has been treated (by Kolkata Knight Riders)… He is the best cricketing brain in the country. Taking Ganguly is not a gamble,” Sarkar explained. Sarkar said their side was plagued by a lot of injuries and they thought of Ganguly.
“At the start of the tournament, Angelo Mathews, the best all-rounder, was ruled out. Australian T20 vice-captain Tim Paine, South African skipper Graeme Smith too are injured, while Ashish Nehra too was battling with injury. We waited for the Nehra’s fitness report that came yesterday.” “We have been in talks for last two three days. Our team think-tank felt that Sourav Ganguly is the best possible option available so we went for him. He has been a fighter and a master of comebacks. We are very much confident that he will prove his worth.”
Sarkar however said that Sourav Ganguly would not be playing the next match against Mumbai Indians. “We welcome him on board. He is joining the side (in Navi Mumbai) this evening and will train with the coach and support staff. I don’t think that he will be playing in our next match (against Mumbai Indians) tomorrow.”
The match between Pune Warriors and Kolkata Knight Reiders (KKR) had a great significance as Ganguly was playing for that particular match. Asked about the details on Ganguly’s contract- Sarkar commented.”We want to go step by step. Of course, Sourav is a part of Sahara India Pariwar and we will want this association to be a long term one. The contract will be assessed at the end of the year.”
Sourav Ganguly always shared a cordial relationship with Subrata Roy (team pune owner) Speculations were high about Pune Warriors picking him from auctions if KKR doesn’t bid for him.
But according to some internal sources the chief coach Geoff Marsh and assistant coach Praveen Amre were against the idea of roping in former India captain due to his strained relationship with Aussie coaches. But having failed to deliver the goods with Warriors down in the dumps, they have now no option but to toe the management line.
The decision to join Pane Warriors certainly came as a blow for the KKR management who have all this while tried to convince Ganguly to join as a team ‘Mentor’. KKR CEO Venky Mysore tried to put up a brave front when the media sought his reaction on the topic.
“We wish him all the best. We hope that May 19th match against the Warriors will be an interesting one,” Mysore stated. Incidentally, Ganguly came to watch his former team, Kolkata Knight Riders, take on Kings XI at Eden Gardens in their previous match, though he refrained from joining team boss Shah Rukh Khan at the corporate box.
Sourav Ganguly have gone through many odds in his cricketing life and emerged as a winner on each occasion. The Prince of Kolkata deserves respect for the positive impact he had on Indian cricket. Dada would certainly cross this barrier and make a mark in the coming season of IPL.