Kolkata:Amidst the reports of Sourav Ganguly's possible release from Kolkata Knight Riders in IPL IV, former Bengal captains Sambaran Banerjee and Gopal Bose have said that the Shah Rukh Khan co-owned franchise might lose its support base in Kolkata in absence of its most popular sporting icon.
"Sourav is the best option to lead KKR in the upcoming IPL. I don't understand the rumours about his possible release by the team management. It is really unnecessary and unwanted. Team needs him the most," Sambaran Banerjee, a former national selector and under whom Ganguly made his first-class debut said from Kolkata.
There are rumours that KKR have decided to let Kolkata's favourite son be up for auctions and not retain him. More importantly, they won't retain any player.
"If Sourav is not there, KKR will lose the sentimental attachment that people of Bengal share with the team.
"I doubt whether they will be able to attract good crowd during IPL matches if Sourav is not there. KKR will face a lot of problems in his absence," said the veteran who was instrumental in Ganguly's comeback in the Indian team in 1996.
Similarly another former captain and staunch Ganguly backer Gopal Bose, has said that Ganguly is to Bengal what like Sachin is for Mumbai.
"We can not imagine the Mumbai team in absence of Sachin. Similarly Sourav is the face of Kolkata. He is the biggest sporting icon Bengal has ever produced. People are emotionally attached with him. The team management can conduct polls and more then 90 percent people will vote for Sourav," he said.
"He played well in the previous season and most amazing part was his fielding."
Banerjee has said that Ganguly does not need to prove anything to anybody. He also hoped that KKR can reach the semi-final in the coming season under his captaincy.
"It was under Sourav's captaincy that we saw a transformation in the Indian team. He has brought the aggression in Indian team as well as in KKR. As far as past failures are concerned there were several other reasons for that. I hope that team will reach in the semi-final in next season," he said.
Bose also blame team management's wrong decisions for the past failures.
"Coach Buchanan (John) was the major factor. Players were feeling insecure during his tenure. Not having the desired start was the biggest problem for KKR. Team has improved a lot in the last season," he said.