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Sourav Ganguly plays on the front foot, slams CAB’s opposite faction for spreading rumours

One of the best Indian captains, Sourav Ganguly who used to talk tough during his playing days, showed that he hasn’t lost a bit of his ‘calling a spade a spade’ attitude when on Friday he blasted the opposition faction at Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) for spreading misinformation to the media.

Sourav Ganguly

Incidentally reports circulated in local media that Pakistani singer Ghulam Ali’s concert which was scheduled to be held at Eden Gardens, was cancelled by Ganguly without discussing the matter in the CAB working committee meeting. Also rumours were spread regarding the branding of the age old Stadium of Kolkata. The former left hander summoned a press conference on Friday and gave out the actual story.

He even mentioned that he had seen a lot of articles in the newspapers where he was indirectly accused of forcing Bengal’s veteran, Laxmi Ratan Shukla to retire, and asked the journalists to clarify with him before publishing any controversial stories.

Ganguly clarified that Eden Gardens would have never hosted Ghazal maestro Ghulam Ali’s concert as it would have meant losing matches of the upcoming World T20 due to damage it could have caused to the playing arena.

Ghulam Ali’s concert will now be held at Netaji Indoor Stadium in Kolkata, but Ganguly did clarify his stand after there were some allegations from the anti-Ganguly faction in CAB that he had said “No to concert” without placing it in front of CAB’s working committee.

Also Read: Trouble in Eden: Why Ghulam Ali’s concert before T20 WC might be bad news for Sourav Ganguly and CAB

“It was amazing to read some of the media reports today so I wanted to clarify few things. I was first told about this concert after the CAB working committee meeting on Wednesday. Yesterday I told Firhad Hakim that it’s not possible to host the concert at Eden Gardens since there will be an ICC inspection just after that (on Friday) and we can’t risk losing any match,” the former India captain said.

Ganguly said he had informed the same to the secretary of CM Mamata Banerjee yesterday afternoon, hours before receiving the letter requesting permission for the concert from the state’s Minorities and Madrasah education department. “But I have already said there is no way we can host this concert. I have also told the same to Madam (Banerjee) today. She is completely aware of the situation and is fine with it,” said Ganguly.

“We can’t risk losing any match of the World T20. There was no reason to go to the working committee with a matter that I had already said no to,” said Ganguly. “But I’m surprised with some of the stories that came out today. I am being categorical. There will never be such a concert at Eden Gardens,” he said.

Watch what Sourav Ganguly had to say about the false rumours (Video courtesy: Xtra Time)

Ganguly’s differences with some of the other office-bearers came out in the open when the former India captain spoke how misinformation was being spread by a section about Eden Gardens’ branding coming under the ambit of ambush marketing.

Treasurer Biswarup dey, who has been a known detractor of Ganguly in the CAB, had raised questions about the tendering process for Eden Gardens’ branding that could come under the ambit of ambush marketing.

“There was no process of tenders in CAB. Tender means an Open Tender. But in this case, it will be a restricted tender to avoid ambush marketing issues. I know that permission from the Army and BCCI is needed for naming rights.

“The question of ambush marketing doesn’t arise. I have 20 endorsements and I know what ambush marketing is,” a livid Ganguly said when asked about the issue.

“It is not for my personal benefit that I’m doing this. This is the first time in 15 years that CAB will have Rs 6 crore in their own kitty,” said the former India captain.

Ganguly also told reporters that new electronic scoreboard will be installed at Eden Gardens by February 15. “By February 15, the scoreboard will be installed by Reliance at a cost of Rs 2.5 crore, which they are bearing at my request. Let me also tell you that branding of this won’t include the ICC and IPL tournaments. Anyway, Reliance does not want any branding,” he added.

“The BCCI has also asked all the state associations to give their feedback on the matter. Many associations already own the stadiums so it’s not a problem for them,” he said.

Also Read: Sourav Ganguly tears apart detractors, says misinformation was being spread about Eden Gardens’ branding

That he was angry with stories of him trying to push the branding of Eden Gardens came to the fore from what he spoke next. Without taking any names, Ganguly took a dig at a current office-bearer. “It’s not in my character to talk about my colleagues. If I had to say I could have said that Eden Gardens had lost the 2011 World Cup match when this person was part of CAB. Then Mr Dalmiya and I had run from pillar to post trying to do our bit. But I don’t want to rake up these things,” he added.

“It’s not fair you hear just one side of the story. So I had to this. In future I would be happy if you clarify any matter with me,” he said.

(Inputs from PTI)

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