Indian skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni looked disappointed at not getting a turning track at the Eden Gardens in the second cricket Test against South Africa when he said a “sporting wicket” did not mean one with grass and bounce for the fast bowlers.
“I personally believe there is too much emphasis on sporting wickets. I don’t know whether there is any book, which says sporting wicket means one with grass and bounce for the fast bowlers,” Dhoni said.
For the Indian skipper, sporting wicket is one, which challenges the batsmen.
“When you have a turning track that’s also a challenge for batsmen,” Dhoni said after inspecting the Eden pitch, which has grass and looks to aid seamers in the initial stages.
Dhoni added that each country has pitches of distinct character.
“Each country prepares pitches to suit its strengths. You go to South Africa and you get bounce and seam movement, In New Zealand it is swing and pace. And here the ball turns and bounces for the spinners.”
Describing the Eden wicket, Dhoni said the grass and the breeze would help the seamers. “I see bit of grass. With the two galleries not there a bit of breeze blows across the field. That will certainly help the seamers.”
Four of the galleries have been demolished at the Eden as part of renovation for next year’s World Cup.
Asked whether the ball would turn, he shot back: “Not on the first two days for sure. I don’t see much wear and tear. I don’t see much turn on the first two days.”
There has been a controversy over the Eden track for the match, with media reports claiming that curator Prabir Mukherjee refused to heed requests from the BCCI to prepare a wicket to suit the Indian spinners.
Mukherjee, however, has denied having received any such request. “Why should such a request be made? Cricket is a beautiful game and one should play on a sporting wicket. Why should teams want to play on designer pitches after practising through the year?”
However, some of the grass on the wicket has been trimmed over the past few days.
“This wicket will be firm and full of bounce. The batsmen and seamers will get help initially. As the match progresses, good spinners will be able to utilise the rough patches to extract turn over the last two days. But the wicket will definitely last full five days,” Mukherjee said.