Kolkata, Nov 20 (UNI) They may not share the mentor-protege relation anymore but Jagmohan Dalmiya and Sourav Ganguly seemed to have buried the hatchet as the Cricket Association of Bengal President met the Ranji captain in what was their first meeting in public after the acrimonious CAB poll.
In the CAB elections, Ganguly had openly supported the faction led by chief cop Prasun Mukherjee even though Mr Dalmiya defied all odds, and Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee as well, to retain his post.
Mohali holds a significant place for both the player and his mentor. It's after the Mohali mistake that relations got strained between the two and thereafter Ganguly also lost his place from the side.
A year ago Ganguly was dropped from the Indian side after not playing the Challengers in Mohali and tomorrow he will set out for the same venue to resurrect his career when Bengal begins their Ranji campaign.
Though Ganguly admits in private about Mr Dalmiya's support for him on several occasions, that the CAb chief could have played a bigger role in his being retained to the side could be a hurt that will take time to heal.
Seen by many as a possible step to leave the past behind them, Mr Dalmiya and Ganguly both put their best foot forward and best smile on display as they met.
Mr Dalmiya addressed the Ranji team and tried to charge them up with some pep talk. This was after Arun Lal had a few motivational sessions with the players. Mr Dalmiya is out to silence his detractors that he has not done enough for Bengal cricket.
And he went a step forward last night, when he said, ''Ganguly will be back into the team by dint of his capability. He will return for sure'' and actually asked Ganguly to come and sit next to him.
Ganguly obliged and both talked over tea.
Runners-up Bengal take on Punjab in their Ranji tie in Mohali from November 23 on a pitch considered to be bouncy and lively. It being also the backyard of one of the hardest Dalmiya-baiters I S Bindra could have a separate incentive for both the sides.
Mr Dalmiya later said, ''Last time we were runners-up. This time we would like to do one better. This is a good side and if the players play to their potential we can pull it off. Then getting a place in the Indian side is also at stake.'' With both the leaders, on and off the pitch, cornered and left out in the cold it seems that they are preparing to pick up the cudgels together for a big battle.
Ganguly returned to form in Duleep Trophy match against the champions North Zone with a scintillating century under pressure but he is not giving up there.
''I want to score more runs. Getting back to the side depends on the selectors, captain and coach,'' Ganguly said, adding he was concentrating on his game and game only.
Ganguly has done a lot of things in this last year to keep him in shape. He has learned kickboxing and done parachute training, along with regular fitness trainings and nets.
Mr Dalmiya and Ganguly left the CAB premises one after the other.
But the wily cricket administrator did not forget to mention, ''I have asked the players to let me know if there was any lacunae from the administrators.'' Bengal Coach Paras Mahmbrey said that its great to have Ganguly as captain in the ranks. The team set out for Punjab today.
Ganguly, who was named captain after six years of the Bengal side, will join the team tomorrow.
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