The Eden Gardens pitch had attracted a lot of attention in the lead-up to the India England Test. Opinions and counter-opinions made headlines.
The Englishmen have an edge at the end of the first day’s play. But the man who perhaps knows the 22 yards at the Eden better than many believes that the Indian bowlers, too, will prosper on this wicket.
“It’s a good pitch, promising competitive cricket… India’s bowlers, too, might give it back to England. You simply can’t write India off at this stage of the game,” former India captain Sourav Ganguly said.
Harbhajan Singh’s wait for his 100th Test appearance will certainly get longer. Not only did he fail to find a place in the Eden playing XI, Harbhajan now has been released from the India squad so that he can play in the Ranji Trophy. Ajinkya Rahane and Bengal pacer Ashok Dinda have also been released.
On the menu
Ever since Virender Sehwag lashed out at the substandard food on offer at the Eden, the state association has been on its toes. Special care is being taken for each day’s menu. According to insiders, chicken tandoori and korma top the list, alongside rice, dal, vegetables and mishti doi.
“Chicken tandoori is a favourite of Sachin Tendulkar, while (Gautam) Gambhir prefers more of the rice-dal stuff,” a source in the Indian dressing room said, adding: “Most of them are fond of palak paneer, but it wasn’t served on the first day.”
‘War’ and peace
After all the controversy surrounding the pitch and a war of words between captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Eden curator Prabir Mukherjee, the duo finally buried the hatchet. Both exchanged pleasantries just before the toss, on Wednesday, as Dhoni seemed happy with the track on offer. He walked up to Mukherjee with a smile on his face and the veteran curator, too, reciprocated in the same spirit.
Among those present at the Eden, on Wednesday, was AHM Mustafa Kamal, who will take over as the International Cricket Council’s president in 2014.
“Sachin (Tendulkar) was batting really well and I was hoping he’d get a hundred. But that wasn’t to be,” Kamal told The Telegraph.
Kamal, incidentally, left shortly after Sachin got out. He will be at The Eden on Day II, too, before returning home on Friday.
Owing to the ICC’s rules, Kamal is no longer president of the Bangladesh Cricket Board, but will be remembered for his role in the successful conduct of the 2011 World Cup matches in his country.