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Dressing Room Secrets Part 4: …so determined that ‘they’ made Ganguly cry

-Mahesh Waghmare

The story is from 2005. Pakistan team came on the tour of India. After the Kargil war, friendly relations between the two countries started growing again. The tour consisted of a three-Test series followed by six ODIs.

After the Test series ended in a 1-1 draw, the ODI series was at stake. The first match of the series was scheduled to be played on April 2 at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Kochi. Both teams arrived in Kochi three days earlier. Both teams were greeted with great cheers. The Indian team was a bit disappointed after not winning the Test series but overall the atmosphere was friendly as usual. A practice session of the Indian team was held on the day before the match. Before going to practice, the team would have a team meeting and then the whole team would go to practice.

As scheduled, all Indian teams were present for the team meeting. Exception, skipper Sourav Ganguly. As such, Ganguly was famous for arriving late every time. Here the players were chatting among themselves. After 10-15 minutes, Ganguly entered the meeting hall. All the players fell silent. In an instant, the atmosphere in the hall changed.

Ganguly, smiling his usual smile, was about to start speaking when Harbhajan Singh stood up. He handed over some newspaper clippings in his hand to Dada. As soon as Ganguly saw the scissors, his face turned pale. An interview with Ganguly was printed in that newspaper. It was written that, “Yuvraj has a strong desire to drive girls, Harbhajan to go to discos. Zaheer and Sehwag are not serious about their game. Dravid doesn’t contribute anything as vice-captain while Sachin plays for himself.”

Ganguly was sweating profusely after reading all the news. Because, he had not given any such interview. Ganguly looked up and Yuvraj Singh and Zaheer Khan started talking. “Grandpa, will you make any accusations because we are juniors? We are playing for the country and playing with integrity.” As the young players began to speak, Ganguly looked at his old teammates Dravid and Sachin. He also used to mix tunes with the tunes of other players. “Dada, you shouldn’t have said that. You are wrong!”

But now Ganguly is gone. He started telling everyone that nothing happened. I have not given any interview. But among those clippings, it was seen that the interview was printed in Hindi, English and local Malayalam as well. There was an argument between the player and Ganguly for about 15 minutes. Down there on the field, coach John Wright was waiting for the team.

Now it was the turn of Ganguly’s patience to run out. His throat tightened and he said, “What shall I do to make you believe? If you believe this to be true, I resign my captaincy.” Harbhajan said, “What will happen to him?” Saying this, he picked up his bag and started walking out. But now, tears came from Ganguly’s eyes. The team he built himself. He had all the teams against him. He felt bad that he was the captain and was left alone. He started to leave the room smiling.

Ganguly’s old colleague Rahul Dravid did not see his situation. He followed him. Stopping him, he said, “Dada, what is the date today?” Ganguly understands that he has been made an April fool. Later, he was told that it was Yuvraj and Bhajji’s plan and they had planned all the strategy yesterday. All the team also supported him. Later, Harbhajan Singh explained the entire incident in an interview. In this way, Yuvraj fulfilled his revenge for parroting him six years ago by making Ganguly an April Fool.

Other articles in Dressing Room Secrets series-

-Dressing Room Secrets Episode 10: “Jitiya, Kapil Paji’s health has suddenly deteriorated, let’s hurry.”

Dressing Room Secrets Part 9: The players didn’t want to be quiet, Sachin finally took the initiative

–Dressing Room Secrets Episode 8: In the evening Dravid calls Prasad and reminds him of a 15-year-old bet.

–Dressing Room Secrets Part 7: …and 18-year-old Virat fell at Sachin’s feet

–Dressing Room Secrets Part 6- What happened in the dressing room after losing the 2019 World Cup semi-final?

–Dressing Room Secrets Part 4: …so decided they made Ganguly cry

–Dressing Room Secrets Part 5- That day the election was held in India’s dressing room

–Dressing Room Secrets Part 3: Dada says goodnight and leaves but Yuvraj is scared of Purta.

–Dressing Room Secrets Part 2: Laxman’s bath interrupted the ongoing Test match

–Dressing Room Secrets Part 1: Sehwag cries while John Wright smokes a cigarette in the adjoining room

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