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December 1, 2012
Prabir Mukherjee, the Eden Gardens curator, has strongly criticised MS Dhoni's call for turning pitches, calling it "immoral", and even sought a month's leave from work. However, by Saturday evening, the Cricket Association of Bengal had convinced Mukherjee to come back to work.
The developments came less than a week before India's Kolkata Test against England, and days after the BCCI deployed Ashish Bhowmick, a member of its grounds and pitches committee from Tripura, to "assist" in the preparation for the Test that starts on December 5.
The series between India and England is tied at 1-1 after India lost on a square turner in Mumbai, with their spinners taking nine wickets between them even as Monty Panesar and Graeme Swann shared 19.
"Why does Dhoni want a square turner on the first day? Then why are you selling tickets for five days? It's immoral," Mukherjee told CNN-IBN. Mukherjee said he didn't like the way the whole issue was handled. "I have not resigned but asked for a month's leave," he said. "I am not loving this atmosphere and not happy that the Cricket Association of Bengal did not support me."
Dhoni and Mukherjee have famously struggled to get along as professionals. Last year, after India beat England in an ODI in Kolkata, Dhoni said the pitch was an "ugly wicket". Mukherjee then responded by saying, "Pitches don't score runs, batsmen do." It was also reported that Mukherjee had made disparaging comments about Dhoni's demands for specific pitches. He is reported to have asked for written official instruction if he was to prepare a pitch that began turning and bouncing on day one.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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