India in Pakistan, 2005-06 January 7, 2006

Pawar seeks to downplay Dungarpur-Ganguly controversy


-Sharad Pawar © Getty Images
Sharad Pawar, the BCCI president, sought to play down the controversy regarding Raj Singh Dungarpur's reported remarks on Sourav Ganguly saying he believed Dungarpur's version. Dungarpur, Indian team manager, who was reported by a TV channel as describing Ganguly as "laziest and possibly the worst fielder" on Friday, yesterday did a volte face terming the former captain as a "tremendous batsman".

"After this controversy, I spoke to Dungarpur and he informed me that the channels were using clips which were three-four months old. He told me that he had not made any remarks about Ganguly during the current Pak tour," Pawar told reporters. "Nowdays, TV channels who have cricketers as anchors begin to worry what would happen to them if the concerned player is not included in the team," he said, hinting that it could be a tactic of the private channels. Pawar said Dungarpur told him that he had been team manager on five occasion and would never do something which would hurt the team.

"I belive Dungarpur. He has no financial interest like the news channels. Those creating such controversies should also consider national interests before commencing such a campaign," Pawar, also the Union Agriculture Minister, added.

Pawar said he would attend the ICC's meeting in Karachi on January 12. "Shaharyar Khan and myself would then go to Lahore and maybe to Rawalpindi also as I have been informed that there was a likelihood of a meeting with President Musharraf," he said. "BJP leader Gopinath Munde, who had been demanding that don Dawood Ibrahim was holed up in Karachi is also welcome to accompany me," he said in a lighter vein. "Of course, we will not bear his expenses," Pawar quipped.