West Indies in India 2013-14 November 4, 2013

'Even-bouncing wicket' at Eden Gardens

Arya Yuyutsu

Amid reports that Eden Gardens is likely to roll out a low and slow pitch for the first Test against West Indies starting on Wednesday, chief groundsman Prabir Mukherjee has said stroke-making won't be too difficult.

"It will be a good, firm, even-bouncing wicket, so that the [batsmen] will be able to play their shots," Mukherjee told ESPNcricinfo.

Eden Gardens has had a lot of rain in the lead-up to the Test. In fact, there was no play possible in a Ranji Trophy game last week, between Bengal and Baroda, despite there being no rain on the days of the match. It is believed the organisers didn't want to risk playing on a damp pitch considering the Test was so close, and it is the moisture underneath the surface that is expected to slow down the surface. However, Mukherjee said batsmen need not worry.

"There is no such thing as a bowler's wicket in cricket," he said. "That is an under-prepared wicket. Cricket is a game of batsmanship. When a batsman makes a hundred he gets more applause than when a bowler gets a five-for. That's the difference.

There were reports as soon as Eden Gardens was announced as the venue for the Test - Sachin Tendulkar's 199th - that the stadium would dish out a flat surface so that Tendulkar enjoyed his farewell. Mukherjee sought to rubbish those claims.

"I had no pressure to prepare a wicket tailor-made for Sachin," he said. "And why should I? He's played 198 Test matches. For Sachin, to make it easier to bat is a foolish approach. There's a reason why he's played so many Test matches. And I'll just pray to God that he shows that again, by making another hundred in his 199th Test. It's just a pleasure for us to watch him play here for one last time."

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Kedar on November 5, 2013, 16:42 GMT

    Sad to hear from the curator himself that "Cricket is a game of batsmanship". Please remember that cricket is a game of batting, bowling and fielding. If you keep just one or two and remove the third one, you are making the sport weaker. We don't want Sachin's final two test matches to be a boring affair. We want something like Lahli game between Mumbai and Haryana which apparently Sachin enjoyed which he admitted in the post match presentation.

  • Dummy4 on November 5, 2013, 14:34 GMT

    Sammy said that the pitch looked like a 4th day pitch. So Mr. Banerjee's statement, "cricket is a game of batsmanship", may be a sarcastic one as Dhoni and Banerjee(curator) have some hate and love relationship.

  • Dummy4 on November 5, 2013, 14:16 GMT

    The Curator is on the spot, if the batsmen do not score runs the match will be over in 2-3 days only, so it sure is a batsmen's game and to spoil that party is the business of the Opposition bowlers. And here some ppl think that only"Sachin is going to Bat", WI have good batsmen in their team and surely they would love a good batting wicket too! Whoever wins the battle of attrition wins the Test.

  • JD on November 5, 2013, 13:16 GMT

    No one's points lack logic.. you are all partisan.. You all love your team and players... All countries prepare wickets to suit their strengths... ALL of them... It's the one area where the officials turn a blind eye unless there is a grossly unprepared pitch. Why I say a blind eye? Well the rules would stipulate the soil, water, temperature, type of grass, number of rolls, weight of roller etc. and an official would have to be there during the whole process.. can you imagine the cost... !! There will always be new GREATS.. Kohli looks like a good one. Who's to say he won't eclipse Sachin one day.. Let's hope we will always have new greats... Let's just enjoy our game... we all love it and want it to continue forever... PLAY.. !!

  • Srivathsan on November 5, 2013, 12:10 GMT

    @Jordanmacmillan88: Your point lacks logic. A good pitch is a pitch which produces results. Hence, all good pitches need not be green tops. In sub continental conditions, green tops are rarer than Indian fast bowlers. So pitches which is conducive to batting for 1st 3 days and spin bowling for 4th and 5th day is a great pitch in subcontinent. I think India has more that kind of pitches. Will Eng, Aus, SA & NZ prepare spin tracks as per your point that they will not get the green tops outside their home conditions??

  • Ankit on November 5, 2013, 10:51 GMT

    Totally agree with @mukesh_LOVE.cricket.. Unbelievable..it's very strange and bad to hear from a pitch curator...

  • mukesh on November 5, 2013, 10:22 GMT

    " Cricket is a game of batsmanship" , i can understand this if its coming from a T20 fan who wants more 'excitement' than 'boring' test matches , but a curator preparing pitches for a test match saying something like this is ridiculous in my opinion , and the best exhibition of batting talent comes when the ball is seaming off the pitch swinging in the air and gripping and turning ,not on flat roads where anyone can come in and simply hit through line !

  • RAJARAMAN on November 5, 2013, 8:21 GMT

    Jordanmacmillan88... India has won everywhere: in Eng (WC-1983; CT-2013, test series in different decades, etc.), won in Aus (B&H-1985, WSC-2009, etc.), drew series in SA. Other teams have also won in India and elsewhere. So, what is the problem? If you want to come to India, be prepared and come ... otherwise, take a hiding. No problem.

  • venu on November 5, 2013, 8:14 GMT

    @Jordanmacmillan88: Everyone likes to support their team, whether it is over-rated or under-rated or what ever it is? Australia! I know what you are talking about. How much you guys respect visitors? Do I've to open all of that debate? Asking for a green top arround the world is like, Nadal asking Clay everywhere and Federer asking for fast grass everywhere(not the Grass wimbledon is using these days :-)) Do you've any idea what I'm talking about?

  • Cric on November 5, 2013, 8:05 GMT

    @Jordan....How many series you have won in India.........

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