Frustrated India skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni repeats his displeasure over Eden wicket on the eve of T20 fixture; says it's the same as it was during Tuesday's one-day international
It' nothing new at the Eden Gardens. The Indian team management was utterly disappointed with the wicket on the eve of the one-off T20 international against England here yesterday. India skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni termed the wicket "ugly looking" after Tuesday's ODI which India won by 95 runs and completed a 5-0 whitewash.
From the word go: MS Dhoni during practice at Eden Gardens
The issue was raised again when the Indian team was practising. It is learnt that after assessing the wicket, coach Duncan Fletcher expressed his displeasure over the strip to curator Probir Mukherjee. Fletcher made it clear that they needed a faster wicket than what was given to them on Tuesday.
Captain Dhoni also didn't hide his frustration over the wicket. "What will I say? Wicket is same. It's really disappointing," a visibly upset Dhoni told MiD DAY. And not only the match wicket, the practice strip also drew flak from the players of both teams. "The practice wicket was damn slow. But I am told that the match wicket won't be that slow. Let's see what happens in the match," recalled opener Robin Uthappa said in the media briefing.
England T20 captain Graeme Swann too didn't praise the strip. "The wicket is looking strange but I am not surprised. It looks pretty dry too," Swann said. But curator Mukherjee, who is facing the heat, was adamant in trashing all allegations. "Firstly, Fletcher didn't tell me anything with regards to the wicket. Secondly, I cannot change the nature of the wicket overnight. I can't help it if the team is not happy," Mukherjee said.
However, Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) has something to cheer about in terms of ticket sales after a record low turnout of 27,000 in last Tuesday's ODI. The ticket sales for the T20 match picked up yesterday. "We are expecting a crowd of at least 50,000," said CAB Joint Secretary Biswarup Dey. After renovation, Eden's reduced capacity is 67,300.
Cook, Trott return
Meanwhile, for England, ODI skipper Alastair Cook and and Jonathan Trott have returned home. They will be replaced by big hitting Jos Buttler and top-order batsman Alex Hales.