Ganguly’s ouster sparks protest

Published December 16, 2005

KOLKATA (India), Dec 15: Angry cricket fans in the eastern Indian state of West Bengal protested Thursday at the axing of former captain Sourav Ganguly for the third and final Test against Sri Lanka.

Protesters blocked roads and rail tracks at several places in Ganguly’s home town of Kolkata and other districts of the state, police said.

Ignoring political or other differences, hundreds of people rallied behind Ganguly, condemning the “injustice” done to the batsman.

Ganguly, India’s most successful captain with 21 Test wins, was dropped on Wednesday from the squad for the third and final Test against the visiting team starting at Ahmedabad on Sunday.

Effigies of Indian coach Greg Chappell and chief selector Kiran More were burnt and their pictures were garlanded with shoes in Esplanade, a business hub, and elsewhere in the city, city deputy commissioner Anuj Sharma said.

Protesters marched chanting slogans, “We want Sourav back” and “Chappell, More go to hell”.

Film stars and eminent personalities of the city also voiced their protests against the coach and the chief selector.

Soumitra Chatterjee, hero of many of Satyajit Ray’s films, told a press conference it was the saddest treatment that a national hero had ever received. “It’s an act of treachery to cricket that has polluted sport’s atmosphere,” he said.

West Bengal Urban Development Minister Asoke Bhattacharya said Ganguly was a victim of the Indian Cricket Board’s politics. “There is no logic in dropping him after his performance in the Delhi Test,” he said.

Ganguly scored 40 and 39 in his team’s 188-run victory in the second Test at Delhi. He has scored 5,150 runs in 86 Tests.

India are leading 1-0 in the ongoing Test series.—Reuters

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