Sourav Ganguly recalls his spooky stay at the Lumley Castle in Durham
by Arya Author
Published - Dec 29, 2016 2:10 pm | Updated - Dec 29, 2016 2:10 pm
Former India captain Sourav Ganguly will definitely go down as one of the greatest ever captains India has produced and the Natwest Trophy victory in 2002 and his famous shirt waving celebrations at the iconic Lord’s balcony following the historic win will remain a highlight of his glittering and illustrious career.
There was a little history behind Ganguly’s celebrations. Though many criticised him for his unnecessary gestures, Ganguly exactly knew what he was doing. A couple of months before the particular match Andrew Flintoff had taken off his shirt at the Wankhede Stadium after England had won the final match of the 6-match ODI series in India to level the series 3-3.
The Natwest final also marked the evolution of two youngsters namely Mohammed Kaif and Yuvraj Singh. Chasing a mammoth 326 to win, India was precariously placed at 146/5 with all the top notch batsmen back in the hut. Yuvraj and Kaif played the innings of their lifetime and guided India to a famous victory. While Yuvraj was dismissed with few overs left in the match, Kaif endured India reached the target without further hiccups.
However, despite the historic victory by Team India, Ganguly’s visit in England hasn’t been exceptional always. The stylish southpaw recounted one of the most scariest experience in his life in the book titled ‘Beefy’s Cricket Tales”.
Many cricket fans will be aware of the spooky stories which float around the ‘haunted castle’ in Durham and the “Prince of Calcutta” too was frightened during his short stay in the castle.
Recalling the incident Ganguly writes, “We were up in Durham for a match at Chester-le-Street and were being looked after at Lumley Castle, a beautiful hotel that overlooks the ground. As a captain, I was taken up to my suite and I must say it was a magnificent room with everything you could want. We finished training for the day, with the match due to be played the following morning, and I went back to my room before heading out for dinner. When I returned, I closed the curtains and switched off all the lights and climbed into bed.”
However, the former captain stated that he couldn’t sleep the whole night as he was awakened continuously by the running taps in the bathroom. “I got up, switched on the lights and went to turn off the water. The taps were already off. I thought I must have dreamt it or heard it from another room. I went back to bed, making sure everything was turned off and the place was quiet, then fell back asleep.”
Despite that Ganguly was awoken again within half an hour again due to the same sound of running water. He checked the washrooms closely and hence was unsure what was going on. He decided to keep the lights on. “I decided to keep the lights on, to see if I could sleep that way, but I couldn’t- I just lay awake, listening to the silence of Durham”, the former captain wrote.
But Ganguly knew India had a match the next day and it was impossible to stay awake and take a notice of the spooky incidents so he switched off the lights again only to be awoken by running water for yet another time. He was terrified and literally jumped off the bed and ran out of the room.
“I jumped out of bed and ran out… I was terrified. I went to Robin Singh’s room, knocked on his door and asked if I could come in and stay in his room. I was the captain, so I couldn’t tell him I was scared and was worried about the ghosts, could I? I told him the floor would be fine and he was very kind to let me stay.”
The former captain never stayed in Lumley Castle again but was thrilled after hearing that the West Indies team in 2004 and the Australian team in 2005 had faced similar issued during their tour.