Eden curator promises batsman-friendly ODI wicket

Veteran curator Prabir Mukherjee Tuesday said the Eden Gardens pitch for the India-Pakistan One-Day International (ODI) Thursday would be a "proper one-day wicket" with something for everybody. But he also made it clear that the toss would play crucial role with the side batting first having a clear advantage.

"It will be a proper one-day wicket assisting stroke-play for the batsmen. There will be bounce for the pacers and spinners will get purchase in the later stages of the game," said Mukherjee.

Mukherjee had courted controversy after slamming India skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni over his demand for a square turner in the Test match against England last month.

Prabir Mukherjee
Eden curator Prabir Mukherjee with MS Dhoni at Eden Gardens in Kolkata on December 5, 2012. File Pic/Kashinath Bhattacharjee

Down a game in the three-match series, India will meet Pakistan for the second game at the Eden here Thursday.

"It will be the same pitch which was used for the Test match against England, but it will be a typical one-day wicket with lot of runs," said Mukherjee.

The India-Pakistan one-dayer might be Prabir Mukherjee's last as Eden Gardens curator, but the 83-year-old said he would remain associated with the historical venue as long as he's alive.

"No quitting... I'll be here as long as my health permits, and I'm alive," Mukherjee said.

Mukherjee had drawn a lot of flak after his differences with India skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni irked board supremo N Srinivasan who reportedly wanted the veteran curator to remove for not "falling in the line".

But Mukherjee is now a relieved man as there is no diktat for home and away condition during a one-dayer and he's happy to prepare batting-friendly 22-yard.

"In one-day, ICC has clearly laid out rules that wickets should have even bounce with no lateral movement and spin assistance."

"It's a batsmen-oriented game. And we make the pitches in accordance with that," Mukherjee said even as there appeared a tinge of grass on the strip, which is likely to be mowed down before the match begins.

Mukherjee said the team batting first would have an advantage.

"They will get the fresh wicket and will be in a good position to put up a big score," Mukherjee said.

Mukherjee further cautioned about the dew factor. "In these parts, the moment the sun sets dew start settling in. Anti-dew sprays would be used but still there would be a bit of dew."

Going by behaviour, it appears a 250-plus wicket. India had posted 271, defeating England by 95 runs, in the last ODI played here on October 25, 2011.

Down 0-1 in the three match series against archrivals Pakistan, India must win the Eden one-dayer to keep their hopes alive.  

Meanwhile, the Pakistan team, which arrived in the city Monday, practised hard at the nets Tuesday.

The Indian team is slated to arrive later in the day and have an optional practice session. Dhoni, though, is already in the city. 

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