Sourav Ganguly was son to Dalmiya, says Ray

Published: Sunday, July 23, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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Kolkata:Former Chief Minister of West Bengal and legal eagle Siddhartha Shankar Ray yesterday countered Sourav Ganguly's accusation again Jagmohan Dalmiya, stating that the latter treated the former Indian team skipper ''like a son.''

Talking to UNI here last night, he said, ''Sourav was so young and Dalmiya much older. They were best of friends. It's sad to see such a great friendship souring and they parting ways.

If there were any misunderstanding, it could have been sorted out.'' ''I am sad and anguished at what is happening to cricket. As far as I have seen Jagmohan Dalmiya, he has always been helpful to all the cricketers and the facts show for it,'' he said.

''Can't talk about the e-mail and its contents, but I can say that Dalmiya treated Sourav like his son. He loved him and stood by him like a guardian,'' he said.

''I can give you two instances. First when he was suspended for two matches after the Platinum Jubilee match at Eden against Pakistan and then again after the Ahmedabad ODI against Pakistan the next year. Dalmiya worked till late nights and was always there. I used to get irritated sometimes on what this man was doing,'' Ray remembered fondly.

''And when the judgement came in the Platinum Jubilee case, he was the one to call me up. You could see the elation in his voice. He loved Sourav,'' he said.

In the first case Ganguly's case was referred to New Zealand judge Castle and Ganguly came out unscathed with total punishment revoked, in the second case next year Justice Albie Sachs of South Africa reduced the six match ban to four. In both cases Ray and Dalmiya worked closely with Ganguly.

''I am certainly not against Sourav Ganguly. He is a fantastic cricketer and has made the entire country proud. But he has been a scapegoat of dirty BCCI politics played by the new regime. He has been left out for non-cricketing reasons,'' Ray said mincing no words.

''He can make a comeback even after understanding that his English season was not so fruitful. I wish him best of luck,'' he said.

Taking a shot at BCCI president Sharad Pawar he said,'' what do they think, people in Bengal are dumb? They are giving us matches in rainy season and puja holidays. Have we lost all dignity and shall we never rise and protest? And who is doing this, have you ever wondered?'' Ray asserted.

Then coming on to the question of Police Commissioner Prasun Mukherjee challenging Jagmohan Dalmiya for the president's post,'' I have never advocated for bureaucrats becoming presidents of cricket boards. They cant do justice to their job.''

''I have known Jyoti Basu for a long time now and we have differed at every step politically. But this is one case where I full support him when he said that Police Commissioner should not contest the polls for a cricket body,'' he added.

Even Dr Bidhan Chandra Roy had told me never put bureaucrats as heads of sports organization, they can't do justice, he said.

''I tried to put a top cop P K Sen to oversee the functioning of all sports organizations. But I remembered his advice and the next Chief Ministers maintained the same philosophy. But now it's different. I don't know what he (Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee) is doing,'' he said.

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