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IPL 2017: Everyone’s loving the Eden Gardens pitch

The wicket laid at the Eden Gardens has won praise from all teams that have so far featured at the venue in the Indian Premier League, including hosts Kolkata Knight Riders, who have won both the games.

ipl 2017 Updated: Apr 16, 2017 00:28 IST
Dhiman Sarkar
Dhiman Sarkar
hindustan times
ipl,robin uthappa,tom moody
Kolkata Knight Riders batsman Robin Uthappa played a matchwinning 68 against holders Sunrisers Hyderabad and then praised the Eden Gardens pitch for how it has played this Indian Premier League season.(PTI)

Apart from Kolkata Knight Riders, the first set of matches here has produced another winner --- the Eden wicket.

Sunrisers Hyderabad coach Tom Moody, and Umesh Yadav, Ishant Sharma and Ashish Nehra, playing for different teams, were united in their praise of the 22 most important yards on a cricket field. In January, India skipper Virat Kohli had said it would aid preparations for the Champions Trophy and on Saturday, Man of the Match Robin Uthappa said his fears have been belied.

“I played the (domestic) one-dayers here (in February) and was a little scared as to how the wickets would turn out. I didn’t expect the wicket to change so much in such little time. On behalf of the team, I must congratulate the curator and the groundsmen for a phenomenal job,” said Uthappa after beating the defending champions.

Read | IPL 2017: KKR bowlers subdue Sunrisers Hyderabad after Uthappa, Pandey show

“The first match (on Thursday) was a really good track to bat. This wicket was slightly slower but since we have such an all-round side, it fit into our scheme of things perfectly.”

On Friday, Moody had said the Eden track “provides for a fair contest. If you bowl in the right areas, you will get rewarded. It has bounce so the spinners would enjoy bowling. But if you are slightly off, you can get punished because the ball is coming nicely.”

On Thursday, Sharma had said this is not the kind of wicket you get often in India. Speaking after him, Yadav had concurred.

The man responsible for this tries his best to avoid being the cynosure. Eden curator Sujan Mukherjee, 62, sits behind one of the IPL team dugouts. His office, by the boundary line, too is a dugout one but one that is a lot more spare.

“If you choose the soil right, use Bermuda grass and water and roll it right, you can get a wicket like this in two-three months. And, yes it helps if you have president (at CAB) like Sourav Ganguly,” said the former Bengal off-spinner.

“I was in charge of preparing the wickets in Kalyani (nearly 50km from Kolkata where the Cricket Association of Bengal has its academy) and this is the kind of track I laid. So, when I got this responsibility after the World T20 final, I thought we should try to change the traditional slow-turner character of the track.”

With 18 ground staff, which he said is at least seven less than ideal, Mukherjee has transformed how cricket is played at one of its most famous cathedrals. And everyone’s loving it.

First Published: Apr 15, 2017 22:51 IST