West Indies in India 2013-14

'Even-bouncing wicket' at Eden Gardens

Arya Yuyutsu

November 4, 2013

Comments: 50 | Text size: A | A

Strong winds blows away some covers, Kolkata Knight Riders v Deccan Chargers, IPL, Eden Gardens, April 24, 2012
File photo - Eden Gardens has seen a lot of rain in the last couple of weeks © AFP
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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."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by Kedars_DT 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.

Posted by   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.

Posted by   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.

Posted by JDEffer 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.. !!

Posted by Srivathsan_Sridharan 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??

Posted by ankitkhare19 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...

Posted by mukesh_LOVE.cricket 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 !

Posted by ramli 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.

Posted by vxttemp 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?

Posted by Cricdew on (November 5, 2013, 8:05 GMT)

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

Posted by   on (November 5, 2013, 7:48 GMT)

Mr Mukherjee's comment saying that cricket is a "game of batsmanship" reflects the present attitude towards the game. It is right to an extent in limited overs cricket where you can win a game with exceptional batting even if your bowling is mediocre. India won games chasing 350+ targets recently. The batting there was exceptional but the bowling was downright mediocre to concede 350+ runs in the first place.

But in Test Cricket, the same approach would at the best earn you a draw but not a win. Here you need a bowling attack that is capable of taking 20 wickets. The conditions which have something to offer for the bowlers to produce results. I don't think it is wrong to say that One-day cricket is a batsman's game but Test Cricket is a bowler's game. More often than not, its the bowlers who win you Test Matches.

Posted by JasonMac on (November 5, 2013, 6:54 GMT)

suresh.sure06. our batman's did score runs here, just check the recent odi series. in fact, we have dominated indians in the odi format as we have more wins. anyway mate, i don't care to debate with people like you. go on, cheer for your overrated team, which has yet to win a series in aussie. lol.

Posted by grizzle on (November 5, 2013, 6:27 GMT)

Sounds like a snoozefest is on offer here: "a game of batsmanship"? Give me a break! Epitomizes much that is wrong with cricket currently in India.

Posted by suresh.sure06 on (November 5, 2013, 6:03 GMT)

@Jordanmacmillan88 indians are not afraid to produce green top pitches its the soil and climate that matter for any pitch preparation. i dont know why people here blame subcontinent for rank turners.See subcontinent is in such a geography that we can only produce these spinning tracks and subcontinent players are good players of spin and have a great wrist control,whereas aus,SA,eng,NZ are in such geographic they can produce seaming and bouncy tracks and eventually there batsmen are more comfortable in playing bounce and swing rather than spin.bounce or swing or spin all these are art of bowling and batsmen has to succeed in all these conditions.Stop basing subcontinent tracks.if Indians are flat track bullies then y cant ur good batsmen cant score runs here?? Even great warne found difficult to bowl in India since the Indians are very very good players of spin.enjoy the game rather than making noise.there is a term called SPORTSMANSHIP.pls learn abt it.

Posted by   on (November 5, 2013, 5:58 GMT)

@Jordanmacmillan88 Then why australia, england & soyth africa not produce truning tracks....

Posted by   on (November 5, 2013, 5:27 GMT)

@Jordanmacmillan88: You are saying you won't churn out "dust bowls" and give a wicket which helps both batters and bowlers. Does that mean that spinning wickets donot help bowlers.spinning wickets do help bowlers who are spinners(that variety which incidentally aus don't have at all after warne).If India prepares a real "dustbowl", it will be a low scoring game with Aus falling like ninepins and capitulating meekly.As it is, Aus were whitewashed in recent times when the wicket were far from a "dustbowl", merely assisting spin.Only England , in recent times have come out on top against India in India, partly due to their superb captain Cook,who excels in ALL conditions.

Posted by   on (November 5, 2013, 5:24 GMT)

Nice Report Arya! Everyone's looking at the little sentence that Prabir said on why batsmen matter than bowlers!

Posted by   on (November 5, 2013, 4:56 GMT)

"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. REALLY!? RREEAALLLYY!?!?!?!? this is the dumbest thing i have read onlne since i searched for an English translation of Psy's song - Gangnam Style. Cricket mayb a batsman's game as they get the 'benefit of the doubt' and most of the perks but nothing can keep a true Test Cricket fan on the edge of hs seat as when bowlers change the course of a game with a few quick wickets. I have listened and watched quite a few Test Matches and have seen many fascinating ones where batsmen had to fight for their runs in tough conditions helping the bowler or there is a balance between the bat and ball but when batsmen pile up runs to no avail on flat pitches that offer little help to the bowlers it can be quite tedious to watch.

Posted by Inspector_Clouseau on (November 5, 2013, 4:42 GMT)

@ CricketFan1980, Rubbish theoretical analysis without any regard to what is actually happening on the field. Are you following cricket in India and still saying bowlers are having an easy way out?

@ Cpt.Meanster, Thanks for speaking on behalf of all fans that we watch cricket to see run scoring but not wicket taking. Sorry but I don't belong to your league. The typical Indian pitches that you are reveling on produced 45% (108/242) draws while a typical Aus pitch produces only 19% (74/389) of them.

Posted by   on (November 5, 2013, 4:42 GMT)

completely narrow minded as he terms cricket to be batsman's game.. i can show 1000's who ll rejoice seeing swing n seam.. spin n then seeing a batsman working his way out to score a century to b applauded more

Posted by satishchandar on (November 5, 2013, 4:36 GMT)

@Jordanmacmillan88 : Wherever you grow up is the featherbed for you.. Apart from Hayden Clarke and Martyn to certain extent, no other Aussie batsman was comfortable in Indian tracks.. Even Gilly as poor apart from his 100s here.. Placid pitches, short boundaries are in ODIs.. For Virat, none need to certify..

Posted by SlamMasterJ on (November 5, 2013, 4:17 GMT)

"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."

What a narrow-minded way to look at the game.

Posted by sandy_bangalore on (November 5, 2013, 3:57 GMT)

"Cricket is a game of batsmanship"...that one statement is enough to know how the test will pan out. A 500 vs 550 draw, with everyone bored to the core. And a farcicial ceremony to hounour tendulkar. I think the ICC should act now and make this test unnoficial.

Posted by Rajesh.Kumar on (November 5, 2013, 3:39 GMT)

To those reminding us as to what happened to India when they traveled to Australia in 2011, I ask: what happened to Australia when they traveled to India in 2008, 2010, and recently in 2013? If India got whitewashed 4-0 in 2011, then Australia got whitewashed 4-0 in 2013, and then they almost got whitewashed in Ashes too, except that the rain saved them from a few defeats. And in Ashes there were no low-slow spinning wickets. Australians should accept that they don't have even a single Test class batsman besides Clarke, and try to find one., instead of blaming pitches, conditions, bounce, global warming, loss of ozone layer etc. etc. As someone else also said that WI team led by Clive Lloyd used to come to India and thrash us on these very same wickets, even though we had much better spinners back then. The thing is that those players were top class compared to what Australia has got to offer... Recently wherever Australia has traveled, it has just been defeated.

Posted by JasonMac on (November 5, 2013, 3:38 GMT)

indians are scared of producing sporting or green wickets. they know they have the worst bowling attack in the world, so on purpose they have to churn out such dead wickets. looking forward to so called indian greats touring oz again. we won't churn out dust bowls, promise. it will be a even wicket which has something for bowlers and batters. that's how proper cricket is played mate.

Posted by debajit72 on (November 5, 2013, 3:37 GMT)

@777aditya - The point is that an Australian or South African Pitch is where a good batsman can score 100s, a good fast bowlers can take wickets, a good spinner can take wickets.....but a subcontinent pitch is where batsmen can score, fast bowlers cann't take wickets (its more often the slogging that gives them wickets), spinners are unplayable...

Posted by debajit72 on (November 5, 2013, 3:30 GMT)

Afraid anyone would be willing to be a bowler in the coming days in India after watching the merciless hammering of the bowlers in the recent Ind V Aus series. Australians were though less wayward than Indians in line and leng. It was the better technique of the Indian batsmen that gave the home side a slight edge. The Indian bowlers were hammered badly by the likes of even Faulkner, Maxwell who are merely allrounders, not perfect batsmen....

Posted by JasonMac on (November 5, 2013, 3:29 GMT)

aditya. biased views? mate, it's folks like you who is not only biased but also delusional. aussies have a good record against india in the odi format. not only at home but also in india. even in previous test series, despite placid pitches we still competed. unlike indians who meekly gives in every time they are taken out of their comfort zone. our win ratio at home and away is much better compared to your paper tiger batman's.

Posted by   on (November 5, 2013, 3:20 GMT)

If these words came from a mere cricket watcher, I wouldn't have been surprised, 'cause that is the trend these days. But to hear it from a curator of a well reputed, international stadium is a bit odd. Thoughts that people like us who follows cricket merely through media has got a better understanding if the game.

Posted by 777aditya on (November 5, 2013, 3:16 GMT)

@ by Jordanmacmillan88 - I don't completely agree with Mr. Mukherjee that cricket is a game of batsmanship, as much as I don't agree with your biased views. Currently, NZ is getting thrashed match after match in Bangladesh. So, is Bangladesh better than NZ? NO! When Bangladesh goes to NZ, they will get white-washed. No touring team has dominated except perhaps WI in the good old days and Australian juggernaut for more than a decade recently (even Aussies found it extremely difficult to tame India in India in tests). So, why do we talk about Indian team or Indian batsmen not doing well when they tour when same is the case with every other team?!

Posted by debajit72 on (November 5, 2013, 3:16 GMT)

A flat batting wicket kills the excitement mate...we want a sporting wicket for test matches, like in Australia, South Africa.....not a bowler friendly wicket or a batting friendly wicket......

Posted by JasonMac on (November 5, 2013, 2:52 GMT)

placid pitches + short boundaries + small stadiums = great indian batsman's. kohli, sharma ain't got nothing in front of Hayden, Ponting, and even Clark.

Posted by JasonMac on (November 5, 2013, 2:46 GMT)

lol, no wonder, indians pile up so much runs in their backyard and get hammered when they tour overseas. anyone remember the 0-4 loss in oz. a complete batman can bat on any surface but indians don't seem to think so. gotta feel bad for bowlers who tour india though. rubbish i reakon.

Posted by thiruven on (November 5, 2013, 2:38 GMT)

Cricket is a game of of batsmanship? If this is the view, let us call it Circus not Cricket

Posted by Tama_Pokai66 on (November 5, 2013, 2:01 GMT)

No wonder, pitches in India are so one-sided. Indians have yet to win a series in Aussie and stats shows, Aussies are learning to bat on flat wickets as well. But can the Indians do the same when they tour our backyard? Don't think so if you just take a peek at how the test and commonwealth series went. Dead wickets doesn't help you grow mate and that's why, India's win ratio is so poor overseas. If you put a little grass on the surface, Indians usually cave in like a c level batman. geez.

Posted by   on (November 5, 2013, 1:47 GMT)

There is no such thing as a bowler's wicket in cricket," he said. That is an under-prepared wicket. Huh. I don't think, you can entirely blame this fellow for preparing batman orientated pitches. He is just following orders. This is also a goodbye series for Sachin, so they need to ensure pitches don't necessarily have any grass, bounce etc. This could be a one-sided series, hope not!!

Posted by Sir_Ivor on (November 5, 2013, 1:26 GMT)

It surprises me that this curator gives himself so much importance as to air his views on the philosophy of cricket. He should address the job of creating a good cricketing surface as they always had at the Eden Gardens and let the better team win.On this ground, India and West Indies have had good results. So barring rain the Test should be a good one. For genuine lovers of the game, Sachin's 199th Test is just a part of the game.

Posted by ODI_BestFormOfCricket on (November 5, 2013, 1:21 GMT)

"Cricket is a game of batsmanship" - whether few (so called knowledgeble) people accepts it or not, but that is truth. Batsman get more attention than bowler. "When a batsman makes a hundred he gets more applause than when a bowler gets a five-for" - very good conclusion.

Posted by   on (November 4, 2013, 23:57 GMT)

Terrible Curator man, seriously? No such thing as bowlers wicket...and cricket is a game of batsmanship? This guy deserves a noble prize.

Posted by ThatsJustCricket on (November 4, 2013, 22:56 GMT)

The guy lacks basic understanding of the game. Cricket is a game between bat and ball Mr. curator and if you lack this basic knowledge you have no right to be a curator.

Posted by   on (November 4, 2013, 21:13 GMT)

These are the most ridiculous statements ever heard from a curator.. A good cricket pitch should be suitable for both batsmen and bowlers.. Getting bored of watching cricket matches hosted in India..

Posted by CricketFan1980 on (November 4, 2013, 20:59 GMT)

To all whiners supporting bowlers - Cricket is indeed a game of batsmanship. You do not win by taking more wickets than the opposition.You win by scoring more runs. Runs are scored only by batting with one exception being runs awarded to the fielding team as penalty. Why should the bowlers have an easy way out? They can always make a comeback after being hit for a six and take a wicket (10 ways to get a batsman out). If a batsman gets out he can never make a come-back in the same innings. All power to them. Why should the bowler be given an easy pitch to get wickets? Display some skill and get them. Did the Aussies / the West Indians of the past need support from pitches to win games / take wickets?

Posted by 512fm on (November 4, 2013, 20:41 GMT)

Wow this is absolutely sickening to read, justifying the pitches by saying batsman get more applause when making a hundred? Thanks a lot BCCI, you are single handedly killing the sport for me, you've brainwashed all your fans so they just want to see batathons.

Posted by Cpt.Meanster on (November 4, 2013, 20:36 GMT)

The curator at the Eden Gardens is one of India's BEST curators. Every pitch is he has created has offered interesting games. Draws are very unlikely at the Eden Gardens. The past few tests played there including Ranji Trophy games have all been result oriented. I also agree with Prabir that cricket is a game of "batsmanship". It's a simple concept really; the fans want to see runs scored - plain and simple. Since when do people turn up to watch a bowler pick wickets ? Not many, definitely NOT me. I am there to see batsmen score runs. Sure, I do however recognize the need for bowlers to also have a say in the proceedings. So this is where the pitch comes into play. In a country like India, the climate, weather and soil conditions DO NOT favour fast bowling. So what's left ? We could create spinning tracks or benign surfaces that result in draws. I hope Mr. Mukherjee creates a balanced pitch. Days 1 to 3 good for batting, days 4 and 5 good for spinners. That is the typical Indian pitch.

Posted by GRVJPR on (November 4, 2013, 20:10 GMT)

Problem with people commenting here and writers of cricinfo is, if a curator prepares a bowler friendly track that turns from day 1 they will declare it a doctored pitch. SO what can a curator do?

Posted by Inspector_Clouseau on (November 4, 2013, 19:17 GMT)

"Cricket is a game of batsmanship."- Really?! After the Aus ODI series, when I saw many comments demanding pitches that offer even contest between bat and ball, I thought there are enough sensible fans out there and there is hope that sanity is restored in future. But make no mistake my friends! There are many tunnel visioned officials out there among curators, management and fans that think slog fest is the best cricket and they out number the sane ones by crores. Shudder.

Posted by Cricketfan11111 on (November 4, 2013, 18:17 GMT)

Don't blame the curator for having certain opinion about cricket and pitches. If every curator thinks the same way and produce same kind of wickets cricket will be boring. But, hope the kolkatta pitch will assist the bowlers better than the odi series just ended.

Posted by   on (November 4, 2013, 17:29 GMT)

This man is a disastrous curator, and he has already declared war on the bowlers again. Such a shame he's allowed to continue his nonsense time after time. 'A wicket that offers something for the bowler is an underprepared wicket'!!!. What a load of rubbish!.

Posted by Jonah58 on (November 4, 2013, 17:09 GMT)

Oh great another motorway to play a cricket match on. Does nobody else think these batsman's wickets are the reason India are unable to play outside Asia any more? Surely in a country the size of India at least one good cricket wicket could be prepared rather than the endless succession of Batting Paradises that have become the norm for the last few years? It wasn't always like this or batsmen like Gavaskar, Dravid and Tendulkar could never have learnt their trade as well as they did.

Posted by Venkat_Gowrishankar on (November 4, 2013, 15:54 GMT)

What does he mean by "That is an under-prepared wicket. Cricket is a game of batsmanship" - Then what about the bowlers, preparing a pitch forhis personal opinion on batting vs bowling ?. Now I understand why Eden gardens produces some of the worst pitches in the country. No doubts, Dhoni was spot on in his assessment of the Eden's garden's wicket. Even in the IPL it has produced some sub standard wickets. Hight time that somebody took notice of his opinions and start preparing wickets at Eden's gardens to suit all of them. The last time he said the wicket would have a bit of bounce , I remember the ball pitched once before it went to the keeper ( Steven Finn was the bowler ). We can expect a slow low non turner, non bouncy boring draw pitch.

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