Pune Warriors India captain Sourav Ganguly (C) congratulates bowler Marlon Samuels on taking the wicket of Deccan Chargers batsman Parthiv Patel during the IPL Twenty20 cricket match at Barabati Stadium in Cuttack. AFP/Noah Seelam
The prince of Kolkata returns home on Saturday, as a Pune Warrior. For the first time, Sourav Ganguly will be using the visiting team's dressing room at Eden Gardens — the ground which he has called home for more than two decades.
Bangalore may not have put life on hold when Rahul Dravid came calling as the Rajasthan Royals captain, but Saturday's IPL match between Gautam Gambhir's Kolkata Knight Riders and Ganguly's Pune Warriors has left Kolkata shaken and stirred.
The city has been in the grip of feverish excitement, readying for its favourite son's homecoming. All tickets have been sold out, including those costing Rs. 9,000. For the first time since it was rebuilt, Eden has seen every one of its 65,000 seats taken. Had this game been shifted to the city's football amphitheatre, the Salt Lake Stadium, which holds almost twice as many people, it would still have been sold out. No one wants to miss this one.
Gambhir, however, refuses to label the game as one between Ganguly and the Knight Riders. “We will play against Pune. We don't play against Sourav Ganguly.”
Gambhir said irrespective of whether Kolkata supported his team or not, the Knight Riders would play for the city's pride. “KKR is the only team that belongs to Kolkata.”