The surprise emerged from the surface after the pitch cover was removed on Saturday at Eden Gardens following a few days of rain. The Bengal and Hyderabad teams were getting ready on either side of the strip for the Ranji Trophy Elite Group B match starting on Sunday.
Visiting captain VVS Laxman reckoned it was “a little under-prepared” and though Bengal coach Bharathi Arun felt “the pitch was dry and not under-prepared”, it prompted Bengal to add a second spinner in the XII. Their initial plan was to go in with three medium-pacers and a spinner.
Suddenly, apprehensions about the track became the talking point ahead of a match that is essentially about two teams trying to figure out how good their GenNext is. Bengal and Hyderabad have lost seven and eight players, respectively, to ICL.
The hosts are better off on paper in terms of finding replacements because there are seven uncapped players in Laxman’s 15-man squad, which includes three with the experience of one match each. Bengal in comparison will have just one first-class debutant — wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha.