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Fresh wicket takes centre stage at Eden Gardens

Shamik Chakrabarty

Posted: Nov 10, 2010 at 0955 hrs IST

Kolkata: The newly-laid wicket at the Eden Gardens, which will be used during the 2011 World Cup, will appear for its first test when Mumbai play Bengal in an Elite Group A Ranji Trophy game starting from Wednesday.

If rival skippers were hoping to figure out how the pitch would behave there got precious little in terms of definitive answers. The Eden Gardens is being spruced up to meet the December 31 deadline — by which time all stadia must be ready for the World Cup— and the next few days will give an idea as to how the wicket will behave.

Players had a mixed opinion after taking a close look at the wicket. Some believed that it would play low and slow but none will be surprised if it behaves slightly differently.

“We have to play at least two first-class games on this wicket before the World Cup. So we have decided to host both our Ranji Trophy home matches here,” Cricket Association of Bengal joint-secretary Biswarup Dey told The Indian Express on Wednesday.

Mumbai skipper Wasim Jaffer, an experienced and decorated first class campaigner believes that it will be hard work for the batsmen at the Eden Gardens. “This is not a batsman’s paradise. I think it will be a challenge to score runs on this wicket,” Jaffer said on the eve of the game.

For the home team, it will be an opportunity to build on their good work during the first round against Delhi where they walked away with three points after taking the first innings lead. Yet, taking on 39-time champions Mumbai will be a different ball game for the side which hopes to stay on the road to redemption under new coach WV Raman and young skipper Manoj Tiwary.

Mumbai players are under a gag order after all-rounder Ramesh Powar had criticised the wicket after the last game at home against Saurashtra.

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