Pune: More than the Mumbai Indians versus Pune Warriors India clash, the crowd seemed eager to watch Sourav Ganguly play.
While on the way to the DY Patil Stadium, the auto-rickshaw driver enquired with this correspondent more than once whether Ganguly would play.
Though the former India captain was ruled out of Wednesday's match on Tuesday itself, the spectators had a glimmer of hope to see Dada in action for the first time in the fourth Indian Premier League (IPL).
Ganguly went unsold in the player auction in Bangalore earlier this year. He came in as replacement for the injured Ashish Nehra.
He did not play, but trained before the match began. He was greeted by a huge roar from the capacity crowd. He started off with some stretching exercises before going through routine fielding drills.
A source close to the Pune team said that Ganguly took no time to mingle with his new teammates. "All the players were in awe of him in the dressing room but he made everyone relax and spoke to each member of the team," he said.
It was also learnt that Dada gave a pep talk to the team before their crucial clash against Mumbai Indians.
"He told everyone to maintain their composure and not get carried away. He helped the youngsters before the match," he said.
The source also said that Ganguly would be available for the next match, against Kings XI Punjab in Mohali on Sunday, onwards.