The curator at Eden Gardens, Prabir Mukherjee, has said that he received phone calls from a BCCI official instructing him to prepare a "turning track" for the second Test between India and South Africa beginning in Kolkata on February 14. However, the Indian board's chief administrative officer, Ratnakar Shetty, said he was not "aware of any such request".
India go into the second Test in danger of losing their No. 1 ranking after they were thrashed by an innings and six runs in Nagpur. That pitch had plenty of turn but the Indian spinners were ineffective, while Dale Steyn and the other South African fast bowlers rattled the batsmen with conventional and reverse swing.
"I got a call from one of the BCCI officials requesting me to prepare a turning track as per the wish of the team management," Mukherjee told the Telegraph. "However, I have clearly told him that I want an official communication, like an email, stating what should be the nature of the wicket. Also, I don't know how we can change the nature of the strip overnight."
Mukherjee said he was told to prepare a surface that would suit the "Indian brand of cricket" but said he would not risk "a repeat of the Feroz Shah Kotla pitch fiasco", where an India-Sri Lanka ODI had to be abandoned in December because the surface was deemed dangerous to play on.
"Test cricket is meant to be played on good wickets. Can anyone please define what exactly a turner is?" Mukherjee told the Indian Express. "If you want the ball to turn square from day one, why do you need a curator? The Eden Gardens wicket will have even bounce and decent carry. Spinners will come into play as the match meanders along."
When South Africa toured India last in 2008, they went into the final Test in Kanpur with a 1-0 lead and were beaten on a pitch that had variable bounce and turned sharply from the first day. The Test ended inside three days and the ICC asked the BCCI for an explanation after the match referee criticised the pitch in his report.