Sourav Ganguly ceased to be the only skipper of Kolkata Knight Riders, the team deciding to try out multiple captaincy in the second season of the Indian Premier League Twenty20 tournament, starting April 18 in South Africa.
KKR coach John Buchanan said captaincy would be shared between Ganguly, West Indian Chris Gayle, New Zealand's explosive opener Brendon McCullum and Australian Brad Hodge.
The announcement will surely disappoint fans of the former Indian skipper.
Buchanan, however, rubbished suggestions that the move was aimed at sidelining Ganguly.
"We (Sourav and I) had a long discussion yesterday [Tuesday] and came to a conclusion that there was no need for any one captain. So there will not be a fixed captain of the side... The concept of multiple captains is new; we'll have to see how it goes," Buchanan told a press conference.
"I am very keen to look at different ways of running the show. We have got very good calibres, leaders, in Sourav Ganguly, Chris Gayle, Brendon McCullum and Brad Hodge. Then, we have a very experienced and talented leader in (Laxmi Ratan) Shukla, the Bengal captain," he added.
Buchanan termed the move as "different ways of thinking", but it is being seen as a ploy to sideline the retired India batsman, who is approaching 37 and not seen by the coach to fit into the rigours of Twenty20 scheme of things.
"There is no rift among us. I don't see any controversy; the so-called controversy is created by you people (media)," Buchanan said, as he put his left hand around Ganguly to show camaraderie in front of the cameras.
Ganguly, on his part, said his focus was to perform on the field.
"He is the coach, he has views. My goal is to score runs and take wickets," responded the former India captain, when asked whether he was disappointed with KKR's move.
Even before Ganguly could finish his response, Buchanan intervened to say, "He is the King of Kolkata."
"If you [the media] is going to make a big deal about it, go ahead; we are not going to do it. The concept of multiple captains is new and we will have to see how it goes," he said.
"The decision has nothing to do with Ganguly's fitness. It's just that we would like him to concentrate on batting and bowling," he added.
Buchanan, who guided Australia to two World Cup titles, insisted that KKR's decision is aimed at promoting talent.
"We are looking at knowledge of individuals at different stages of the game. We may be asking Ganguly's advice for something even if he's not the captain on that particular match. Basically, the idea is to have somebody to have a better view of the game irrespective of he's in the middle or off the field," he said.
Buchanan cited the fast-changing dynamics of the game to justify the decision of having more than one captain.
"Cricket is in a phase of transition... I believe there's a way to go in 20 overs cricket. In this shortest version of the game, there's no scope for thinking and I believe this new concept will work."
Elaborating further, Buchanan said multiple captains would ensure multiple ideas on the field.
"When McCullum is keeping wickets, he will have a better view behind of the wicket-keeping, similar is the case when you are batting, bowling or fielding."
Ganguly insisted he was not upset with the decision.
"If I was Sourav, I would have been upset. He is the King of Kolkata," Buchanan said. At which Ganguly was quick to point out, "But I am not upset."
Buchanan went on to praise Ganguly for being a team-man and said, "He is a very fine person who is open about his views."
Buchanan said he will take full responsibility if the concept flops.
"I feel I am going on the right track and that is why I am clear about my concept. We have to look and see how it works out when the tournament gets off. But if the concept won't work it will be my fault," he said.
"At the moment the challenge is same for everybody at the Knight Riders... We don't know the schedule, the exact timing, the venues and the conditions. We have to look in that perspective," he added.
After Rahul Dravid, who was axed by the Vijay Mallya-owned Royal Challengers Bangalore, Ganguly is the second big name to lose his captaincy, albeit not completely.
Dravid lost his place to England's Kevin Pietersen, while another senior player VVS Laxman was replaced with Australia's Adam Gilchrist in the Hyderabad Deccan Chargers team.