New Delhi: In what could have been an outrageous event in the history of Indian cricket, Sourav Ganguly offered to resign as the skipper of national team in 2005, ahead of a high-stake match against arch-rivals Pakistan.
And the reason! An April fool's prank!
On the eve of first One-Day International against Pakistan, the rest of the Indian team fabricated a news overnight, claiming Dada had made some comments against his player. And during the pre-match meeting, Ganguly was shown him the paper, showing their dissent.
This unexpected turn of events had indeed knocked the wind of out an otherwise firm skipper, who have had backed his young team-mates through rough patches.
The skipper, then, reportedly went from player to player claiming his innocence. And for once, he looked like fighting a losing battle, alone.
In a report in Sportskeeda, the mastermind of the prank Yuvraj Singh recalled, “We arranged a printout of an imaginary interview of Sourav, where he’d been critical of his players. When that was shown to him, he pleaded he had not given any such interview."
"I almost had tears in my eyes," recalled the former skipper. "These were the same players I had always fought for. I didn't know why they were suddenly saying all these things," he added.
But luckily for everyone involved, skipper's affable deputy Rahul Dravid revealed in time that it was an April fool's prank.
“Dada picked up a bat and chased all of us out of the dressing room” said Yuvraj added.
"I was more relieved than embarrassed," Ganguly said, years later.
Then, Ganguly was given another sheet of paper signed by all, this time though, declaring their affection for the skipper. It read: "Dada, we all love you."
Next day, India won the match 87 runs, with Virender Sehwag and Dravid scoring hundred even though Ganguly got out for a duck. Sachin Tendulkar, who failed with bat, went onto pick five wickets to clean up the Pakistan tail in Kochi.