Given that this man had of late often turned the spotlight solely on himself despite being in the middle of international fixtures, it was but natural that all eyes would be on Sourav Ganguly when he reached the Karnail Singh Stadium on Wednesday morning.
Regulars to the ground confirmed the same venue hosted an UP team led by Mohammad Kaif this season and also a Baroda team including Irfan Pathan, although the media frenzy seen a day before the Bengal versus Goa Ranji Trophy Plate Division semifinal was much more than it was when it came to lesser mortals.
Inevitably, the match on which depend the chances of two teams to make it to the Elite became a non-issue. He was coming from the airport after taking an early flight from Kolkata and the baggage tag on his kitbag was still to come off.
The lack of motivation after becoming history at the highest level of the game just over five weeks ago was admittedly evident and the commotion his presence caused must have been an uncalled for distraction for the players who were already into their practice sessions. After batting first in the Bengal nets, Ganguly said as much.
“It (the difference in the levels of cricket) can't be compared. I am playing because I was requested to and if I can contribute to Bengal's win it will give these players a chance to play in the Elite Division.”