HindustanTimes Sat,20 Dec 2014
Fireworks over Eden pitch
Somshuvra Laha, Hindustan Times
Kolkata, December 02, 2012
First Published: 00:15 IST(2/12/2012)
Last Updated: 01:04 IST(2/12/2012)
Pitch tampering is a big crime: Prabir Mukherjee

If the Eden wicket has as much turn as the drama surrounding it, we should have a cracker of a third Test.

The cricket begins Wednesday but the Eden Gardens is already seeing plenty of action, which reached a fever pitch on Saturday with curator Probir Mukherjee threatening to go on leave in a huff before he was coaxed back to work by the state board.

Trouble had been brewing ever since India skipper MS Dhoni demanded wickets that were rank turners to assist his spinners — a strategy that backfired and resulted in a humiliating defeat in the second Test.

Mukherjee, 83, had made his disapproval public, saying he’d like a written statement from the BCCI about the kind of wicket it wanted at the Eden.

On Saturday too, he told CNN-IBN: “Why does Dhoni want a square turner on the first day? Then why are you selling tickets for five days? It’s immoral.”

Pitch preparation being the local association's responsibility, Mukherjee also didn’t take too kindly to a ‘routine’ visit by the BCCI's East Zone representative, Ashish Bhowmick, who has been camping here since Wednesday and plans to stay on till Day 1 of the Test.

Late Friday, Mukherjee decided to go on a month's medical leave and met Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) treasurer Biswarup Dey on Saturday morning with a letter. Dey hurriedly took him to the house of CAB president Jagmohan Dalmiya in the hope that something would give. It did, and it reportedly took all of Dalmiya's persuasive powers. Within an hour of the meeting, Mukherjee was at the Eden.

"There is no issue. Mukherjee was unwell, he had high BP. I have not got any resignation letter from him. He will be back at the Eden today itself," Dalmiya said immediately after the meeting.

"How can we let go of the curator four days before the Test?," asked a CAB official. But he did admit there was a problem. "He is talking too much. It's getting difficult (for us)," the official said.

Peace prevails for now. And, hopefully, it will once Dhoni and his men start training here on Monday.

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