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Warne hits out at Ganguly

As the slapgate controversy resonates in the backdrop of Indian Premier League, Shane Warne and Grame smith have trained their guns on India's most successful captain Sourav Ganguly.

Warne has sent an official complaint about the onfield actions of Sourav Ganguly.

Meanwhile Ganguly's own teammate Pakistan's Umar Gul, too, seems to questioning his captain's knowledge of the rules. Knight Riders' Umar Gul, when questioned by media persons on his captain flouting the rules, rather strangely seemed to side the opposition camp.

Knowingly or unintentionally Gul seemed unimpressed by Ganguly's captaincy going on to state that the the left-hander still has to learn more before he can emulate his record as India's most successful skipper.

"It is a new format even for the captain. That is why he is facing some problems. Hopefully he will learn from the past few matches and let's hope for the best," Gul said.

The battlelines are drawn and a a full-blooded verbal war has begun putting the spirit of the game in question.

Meanwhile the Kolkata Knightriders led by captain Sourav Ganguly left for Mohali today (May 2) for their next clash, and enroute from Jaipur the man in the centre of the controversy Ganguly once again reiterated that he had said enough on the ongoing controversy over Graeme Smith's catch on Thursday, and had nothing more to say on the issue.

Warne yesterday accused Ganguly of using time wasting tactics and violating the spirit of the game by crossing the line and asking the field umpire to refer his dismissal to the third umpire, after which it was overruled.

"I have said whatever I wanted to say yesterday, I have nothing more to say," said Ganguly today in Jaipur. On Thursday Ganguly had caustically commented that appealing a dropped catch in his opinion was not in the spirit of the game and that Warne should examine his own career before speaking of ethics.

It all started with a deceptively casual chat on the field between captains Ganguly and Warne, after which Dada flashed a telling smile. But Rajasthan skipper Shane Warne was clearly not happy about something. Later in the after match presser, Warne alleged Ganguly was using time wasting tactics.

"Our batters were waiting five minutes in the hot sun to go out, and they (the other team) were not anywhere to be seen. Then when we came out in the field once again we had to wait for Sourav. So I was really disapointed he was just running on his own time.

Twnety20 is meant to be done in a hour and 20 minutes. Really, I said what's going on and he said, 'I don't know'.

Where were they? Sourav did not know what he was doing. He wanted extra time, you are only allowed ten minutes. So I said to him at the start, mate it is not about you. Let's start on time," said Warne.

But, if that was not enough to get Warne ticked off, then came the decisive moment when a Ganguly swipe to the square-leg fence was met with a stupendous effort from Graeme Smith.

"What a catch! What a catch! He has plucked a beauty," was the commentator's verdict for millions of cricket fans watching, but his companion observed that Sourav Ganguly was not moving. "He is asking the umpire to check with the third umpire."

But what irked Warne even more was a gesture from the former mercurial captain of India who, in a commentator's words, "almost forced the umpire into going for the third umpire" adding "I'm not really sure about this.

"The player is not actually allowed to ask the third umpire. Sourav asked the Indian umpire to go to the third umpire which you're not allowed to do, and it was a clear catch. So I was very disappointed that he would not take the word.

After Smith he caught it clean, he stood there and asked the umpire. That is not in the spirit of the game," asserted Warne.

The third umpire Asad Rauf of Pakistan was left pondering when the game's commentators were almost certain that Ganguly was out.

"Yes, the fingers were underneath the ball..."If you have played the game, you will have to feel he has got his fingers underneath the ball," they said.

Warne added yesterday (April 30) that "an international captain like Graeme Smith says he caught it and it was a clean catch. Rudy Koertzen (umpire) cuts in at square leg and I ask him it was a catch wasn't it and he said yeah, easy."

"Warne should examine his own career"

However when Warne went to town crying foul, Dada's silence ended. Warne's comment was countered with not a little contempt.

"I can just laugh at what Shane Warne is saying because he just needs to have a look at his career and what he has done - he should not be talking about the spirit of the game, and taking a dropped catch and appealing in all my 12-13 years of playing I did not know whether that was in the spirit of the game... When I ran in I looked at the umpire and said he has not caught it cleanly. That is all I said. And referring to the third umpire was completely his decision," defended Sourav.

Meanwhile after Sourav hitting back at Ganguly, Graeme Smith also joined the verbal battle saying he thought it was a "clean catch" and Dada had been "a touch out of line".

"It's always difficult when you are diving forward but at the time I felt it was a clean catch - I think TV replays have shown it was a clean catch... We always want to play the game in the right spirit - and we want to see that that is being recognised.

There have been one or two things gone the wrong way in the IPL so far, but there has been some fantastic cricket and I personally would love to see people focussing on that," said Smith adding "I know the laws of the game and what you are and are not allowed to, and I think probably Sourav was a touch out of line - but at the end of the day it is nice to know that Shane is backing me in terms of that...Fortunately I am not captaining so I don't have to get involved in all of this stuff - but I think the replays show enough to decide.

I think it is not worth getting involved in all this stuff now - the cricket is good, our team played well and we won."

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