Sourav Ganguly taking off his Blue India shirt at Lords after India won the NatWest Trophy in 2002 seems to have so enraged
a whole generation of some English cricket-writers it may as well have been a sweaty red shirt waved to a (John) Bull. I found Lawrence Booth & Mike Selvey of The Guardian to be especially bristly when it comes to the ex-captain. I don’t much read the other broadsheets so I don’t know if they can write about him without lapsing into name calling. I do know for sure that “The Sunday Telegraph” can’t. Back in December of 2001 when England toured India it was their cricket correspondant, one Michael Henderson, who first called him Lord Snooty. (Henderson’s other alliterative appelation, Bengali Boor, didn’t seem to have caught on). To understand the rabid hatred for the British cricket writer for Sourav, this profile written by the esteemed Scyld Berry in that same tour would help set a context. Apparently it is Sourav’s general air of superiority that rankles the oh-so egalitarian Brits, especially Lancastrian team mates from his country stint the previous season. The breathtaking irony of the British press, of all countries, calling into question the ‘snootiness’ of someone from their erstwhile Raj boggles this mind. Among other things, it brings to mind what excellent uncomplaining tourists the English team has been in India. Incidentally, The Daily Telegraph at that time was owned by Lord Conrad Black, a paragon of corporate virtue.
Taking a leaf out of the Aussie book of grace & hospitality, “Lord Snooty” has been officially adopted by The Guardian as a daaknaam for Sourav (I personally prefer his real one, Maharaj). So Paul Weaver’s first day match report for the first test at Lord’s started with:
“There were times yesterday when India resembled a circus troupe. There was Dinesh Karthik And His Amazing Dropped Sitter, Lord Snooty (aka Sourav Ganguly) And His Incredible Dive Over The Ball not to mention RP Singh And His Mind Boggling Wides.”
And here is Rob Smythe in his Over By Over commentary of the second day’s play:
“41st over: India 113-3 (Jaffer 52, Ganguly 6) Jaffer, serenity on legs today, drives Panesar for a single. That exposes Ganguly for the first time – and he edges a big drive at his very first delivery from Panesar wide of the diving slip (Collingwood) and away for four. Snooty is a lucky Lord.”
Very classy, GU! You are giving Cricinfo a run for its money.