Eden curator Prabir Mukherjee has done it to former England skipper Mike Atherton in the past. This time, it was Rohit Sharma’s turn to anger Mukherjee. (Subhankar Chakraborty/HT Photo)
Last year it was former England captain Mike Atherton who was shooed away from the pitch by Eden Gardens curator Prabir Mukherjee. This year, it's Rohit Sharma.
Preparations for the first Test between India and West Indies kicked off with a small drama on Monday when the octogenarian curator ordered India's newest member of the 200-run ODI club out of the pitch area.
The incident occurred when India started training. Mahendra Singh Dhoni was the first person to check out the pitch earmarked for the Test but later Rohit tried to take a closer look at the strip which Mukherjee saw and asked him to leave the area.
When Mukherjee was asked about the incident, he said only the captain and coach are allowed to have a look at the pitch and Rohit was in clear violation of that rule. "I told him he can't be there since only the captain and coach have the right to inspect the pitch ahead of the match. He left after that," said Mukherjee.
Law 7.1.2 a of the ICC rules and regulations for Test playing conditions states 'only captains and team coaches may walk on the actual playing surface of the pitch area (outside the crease markings)'.
Asked if he would have disallowed even Sachin Tendulkar from inspecting the pitch, Mukherjee said, "This is the rule and there can't be any exception made to it."
Mukherjee, a strict and outspoken old-timer, has a knack for courting controversy. Last year Atherton, who came as broadcaster and columnist for the India-England Test series, went to have a close look at the pitch. Mukherjee immediately asked him to leave the area since journalists are not allowed inside the turf. This was after the outspoken curator created ripples by labelling Dhoni's request for a turning wicket as 'immoral'.
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