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The player who dominated the five one-day internationals between India and South Africa in November 2005 was not even in the squad. Sourav Ganguly, the deposed Indian captain, was omitted throughout the series but controversy over his omission still convulsed the country - and most especially Ganguly's home town of Kolkata where an 80,000 crowd jeered a humiliating Indian ten-wicket defeat.
Some of the crowd did their jeering in advance, and were outside the team bus when it arrived at Eden Gardens. India's coach, Greg Chappell, whose appointment precipitated Ganguly's exit, allegedly responded with a one-finger sign. Chappell denied the gesture, and a team spokesman said Chappell had injured his finger, and was attending to it - an explanation that convinced no one. Board officials later "spoke to" Chappell about the incident.
The controversy died down after India, under Rahul Dravid, came back gamely and squared the five-match series. They had earlier ended South Africa's near-record sequence of 20 one-day internationals without defeat. The games were slotted in between the Test and one-day portions of India's series against Sri Lanka, having been postponed from the previous year when both teams had other commitments. South Africa were without Nicky Boje and Herschelle Gibbs, who declined to tour after being refused immunity from arrest by Indian police in connection with ongoing investigations into the match-fixing scandal that broke after South Africa's tour of India in 1999-2000. Boje's absence left them without an experienced spinner, leading to a first call-up for the Warriors' Johan Botha, who bowled impressively throughout, mixing modest-turning off-spin with the occasional doosra.
Match reports for
Tour Match: Hyderabad Cricket Association XI v South Africans at Hyderabad, Nov 14, 2005