Former Sri Lanka captain Kumar Sangakkara recalled an incident from 2002 when Sourav Ganguly visited their dressing room with a suspension cloud hanging over him following an argument with Russel Arnold.
Ganguly, India’s captain during the 2002 Champions Trophy, had been warned by umpires after an altercation with Arnold during the tournament’s final, which was eventually washed out. During Sri Lanka’s innings, Ganguly had reportedly observed Arnold running on the pitch, and decided to confront him along with vice-captain Rahul Dravid.
“I remember one very specific incident in a one-day match where he was having this big argument with Russel Arnold. I think Dada was on his final warning and the umpire reported him,” Sangakkara said on Star Sports’ Cricket Connected, according to IANS.
“Dada came to our dressing room and had a chat to us, [saying] if this goes the whole distance, he was going to get suspended. And we told him not to worry and that we were not going to make a big deal about it and he was going to be okay.”
In May, Arnold, speaking with Ravichandran Ashwin, spoke about the incident as well, admitting that he did take “2-3 steps down”, but termed the argument as mere “banter”.
India and Sri Lanka went on to share the trophy after both the scheduled final and the reserve day were washed out.
Sangakkara, who represented Sri Lanka until 2015, also spoke about the rapport he built with Ganguly over the years, during their playing days and after.
“I did get to know Dada quite well over the years. I really enjoyed speaking to Dada on everything, Test cricket… playing cricket, captaincy. I think Dada I got to know a lot more intimately.”