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Last week the Board of Control for Cricket in India had asked its East Zone pitch curator Ashish Bhowmick to supervise the preparation of the wicket at the historic venue after Mukherjee had made it clear that he was not prepared to alter the nature of the wicket at the risk of it becoming under-prepared.
Last year after India beat England in an ODI, Dhoni had termed the wicket as ‘ugly’. With the current Test series level at 1-1 after India lost on a tailor-made spin track at Mumbai, Dhoni had said that he would continue to demand tracks that turn from Day One, and Mukherjee was not ready to toe the line.
On Saturday morning Mukherjee, 83, wrote a letter to Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) president Jagmohan Dalmiya, informing that he would be staying away from Eden Gardens for a month on “health grounds”. He also attached a medical certificate along with the letter.
However, Dalmiya met Mukherjee after realising that the veteran curator was increasingly feeling that he was being sidelined when it came to the pitch preparation.
“I have been made a villain for doing my job properly. I am and will always remain committed to cricket, not to any individual. What Dhoni has been asking for is anti-cricket. It is immoral and unethical. Never in my life have I doctored a cricket pitch. My health suffers due to this controversy and I have decided to stay away from Eden Gardens for a month,” Mukherjee had said in the morning, just four days ahead of the start of the Test. However, by evening Mukherjee refused to comment further.
Initially, Mukherjee had welcomed the posting of Bhowmick but just two days into the joint operation, the veteran had decided to go on leave.