After the slapgate comes another showdown. Just days after the Harbjahan-Sreesanth fiasco, a fresh storm broke in the IPL on Thursday during the Jaipur-Kolkata game, involving two vastly experienced foes.
In something strikingly similar to a controversy that made headlines during Australia's eventful tour of India in 2001, home team skipper Warne tore into Ganguly for being late in leading his side into the ground while batting and fielding. Speaking after the game, Warne also accused him of violating the spirit of cricket for questioning the validity of a catch claimed by Graeme Smith.
It was a smooth win for Warne’s team and he was paying glowing tributes to his players until someone brought up Dada’s captaincy. The leg-spin legend wasted no time in unleashing a scathing verbal assault. “Our batters were waiting in the hot sun for five minutes. They (Ganguly’s team) were not to be seen. Then when we went into the field, once again we had to wait for Sourav. He was going on his own time. I told him Twenty 20 is one hour and 20 minutes and it took us longer because of him.”
In 2001, Steve Waugh accused Ganguly of arriving late for the toss, but Warne didn't stop there. "When we signed the spirit of cricket memorandum, we said we'll start on time and play in the right spirit. Sourav didn't do it." He was also miffed with Ganguly's decision to ask the umpire to refer a catch Smith claimed.
"If an international captain like Smith says he's caught it, you can't question it,” said Warne. “You are not allowed to ask the on-field umpire to refer it. That's not in the spirit of the game. We are very disappointed with Sourav." He didn't say comment on the third umpire’s ruling in Ganguly's favour.
A Kolkata source told HT “unpleasant words were exchanged right through." While Kolkata’s Director (team and media) Joy Bhattacharya said the team wouldn’t react to a “non-issue”, Ganguly apparently said: “You just need to look at his career and the incidents he has got into will give you an answer.” He added: “And I didn’t know in cricket, taking a one-drop catch was in the spirit of the game”.