Bengal's iconic Sourav Ganguly could have never expected this at his home ground. The former India skipper was denied entry into the Eden Gardens by International Cricket Council's (ICC) Anti Corruption Unit officer Dharamveer Singh Yadav, prior to the start of the fifth and final India-England ODI in Kolkata on Tuesday.
When two captains Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Alastair Cook were in the middle for the toss, Ganguly was required inside the ground for his expert comments for the official broadcaster. The Bengal southpaw was seen using the common passage -- just connecting the two dressing rooms -- to enter the ground, but was asked by Yadav to use some other entry as according to ICC rules, only players and team officials were allowed in that region.
According to witnesses, Yadav showed Ganguly the pictures (on the wall) of those who could be allowed in that area and Ganguly's picture didn't figure in that list. "You may be Sourav Ganguly, but I'm sorry I cannot allow you to use this passage as your picture is not there," Yadav was heard telling Ganguly.
The former India captain then, without stretching the matter any long, used another entry to the ground. Ganguly, when asked, played down the incident and said: "I have no comments on this issue."Â But Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) and former national selector Sambaran Banerjee lambasted the ICC for their bureaucratic attitude.
"ICC cannot stop Pakistan cricketers fixing matchesÂ -- which has to be revealed by under-cover agents of the media -- and now they are acting stupid by denying entry to one of the greats of Indian cricket. It's a shame and shows how legendary cricketers are treated by the world's governing body," an agitated Banerjee told MiD DAY on Tuesday.
CAB secretary Biswarup Dey also termed this incident unfortunate. "We were not there at that time, but what has happened is very unfortunate," Dey said. Yadav refused to comment. "I cannot comment as I have some commitments," he said.
It is learnt that this same officer once stopped Kolkata Knight Riders' co-owner Shah Rukh Khan from entering the Feroze Shah Kotla in New Delhi during a KKR-Delhi Daredevils match in the last Indian Premier League.