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Ganguly-Dalmiya rift out in open

In an e-mail the former Indian captain blames ex-BCCI chief and mentor for his exit from the team. Have your say

india Updated: Jul 22, 2006 05:18 IST

Deposed India captain Sourav Ganguly on Friday charged former cricket board chief Jagmohan Dalmiya for leaking an e-mail from Indian coach Greg Chappell that led to his being dropped from the Indian team.

He also came out openly against his former mentor, supporting Dalmiya's rival in crucial Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) polls to be held on July 30.

The day also saw Dalmiya filing his nomination papers for the post of president snubbing West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharya who had suggested him to step aside from the CAB elections.

Ganguly on Friday sent an e-mail to his brother Snehasish Ganguly, in which he criticised the Dalmiya faction and supported Prasun Mukherjee, the chief minister-backed presidential candidate and city police commissioner.

"People who leak e-mails and sacrifice players' careers should be heavily punished," wrote Ganguly.

Ganguly is currently in England playing county cricket for Northamptonshire.

The e-mail was released by his brother Snehasish Ganguly and Mukherjee at a press conference in Kolkata.

"There are people in CAB who are playing with players' careers. They should not be left scotfree as players need years to reach a certain level," Sourav Ganguly said, indirectly attacking Dalmiya and holding him responsible for his present sorry state.

The former captain was referring to the e-mail written last year by India coach Chappell, which was leaked to media. The coach had questioned Ganguly's leadership abilities in the mail while the team was touring Zimbabwe. Soon after the media leak, Ganguly was dropped from the team, and is yet to make a comeback.

Talking to reporters shortly after the Ganguly e-mail was circulated to media, Dalmiya denied any involvement in leaking the Chappell e-mail. He said: "Chappell himself had said that though I was one of the intended recipients of that e-mail he could not send it to me."

"You put this question to those who received the e-mail," Dalmiya told reporters when queried on Ganguly's allegation. He added: "I am no longer the BCCI (Board of Control for Cricket in India) chief. I have nothing to give. I don't expect loyalty (from Ganguly)."

Ganguly also alleged unethical activities in the CAB, which is under Dalmiya's control for decades, and praised the chief minister for his intervention.

"I am happy that the chief minister and people concerned are moving towards the right path," he wrote.

"Sourav's email now lays to rest the confusion about his support for us. While we knew that he was with us, the media now also knows that he supports us," Mukherjee told reporters.

Meanwhile, an adamant Dalmiya Friday filed his nomination on behalf of Rajasthan Club for contesting the post of president, defying the chief minister's request. The CAB elections are scheduled July 30.

Ganguly's mail assumes significance because the serious charges are made by a playing cricketer for the first time against a cricket body to which he is affiliated and by which he is authorised to play.

Backed by the chief minister, Mukherjee Thursday filed his nomination for the CAB president's post even as Sports Minister Subhas Chakraborty accepted his failure to persuade the incumbent president, Dalmiya, from not contesting the elections.

The elections to the state cricket body has become a tug-of-war between various forces in political and sports circles.

The CAB polls are hogging the national limelight with Dalmiya, who is fighting a legal battle with the new regime of the BCCI, being asked by the chief minister to step aside from the elections for the sake of Bengal cricket.

Though cornered, Dalmiya is supported by some leaders in the ruling Left Front, including the sports minister.

Mukherjee's defeat would be a defeat of the larger-than-life image of the chief minister whose intervention in the CAB polls was criticised by veteran communist leader and former chief minister Jyoti Basu.

The anti-Dalmiya group has also filed an appeal to a city civil court demanding the appointment of an independent observer for the CAB elections.