Former Sri Lankan cricketer Russell Arnold recently recalled a confrontation with former India captain and current BCCI President Sourav Ganguly during the final of the 2002 Champions Trophy. The two cricketers were involved in a highly-publicised, heated exchange which the Sri Lankan deemed as a “good banter”. While speaking with Indian off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin on Instagram Live, Russell Arnold opened up about the entire episode by narrating what transpired between him and the then Indian captain in 2002.
Recalling the confrontation with Sourav Ganguly, Russell Arnold said that it was during the Sri Lankan innings from the 2002 Champions Trophy final. Batting out in the middle, Russell Arnold played a late cut for no run. However, Arnold admitted to taking two-three steps down the wicket immediately after attempting the shot. The batsman further said that he was then approached by India’s wicketkeeper Rahul Dravid and captain Sourav Ganguly.
The cricketer-turned-commentator added that while Dravid simply told him not to run on the wicket, Sourav Ganguly was a bit more aggressive in his approach. In the end, Russell Arnold downplayed the entire altercation by referring it as “just banter” while speaking with Ravichandran Ashwin. He believed that the incident was “overblown” and it was all in “good spirit”.
Later, he recalled his experience with Sourav Ganguly from their playing days. Russell Arnold said that the former Indian captain was a “fierce competitor”, who would always give back as good as he got. However, the Sri Lankan commentator also said that it was easy to make Sourav Ganguly angry and the legendary Indian always replied to every opponent on the field.
In the final, Sri Lanka scored 222-7 in their 50 overs on the back of fifties by Mahela Jayawardene and Russell Arnold. India reached 38-1 in 8.4 overs with Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag batting at the crease before rains played spoilsport. Due to a rain-affected no-result, the 2002 Champions Trophy honours were shared between India and Sri Lanka.