Eden pitch irks Dhoni again?

The former India skipper allegedly had a word with the Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) curator Sujan Mukherjee after the Jharkhand v Saurashtra match on Wednesday, showing his displeasure over the seaming track.

Captain M.S. Dhoni plays a shot during Vijay Hazare Trophy match against Saurashtra at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata on Wednesday.   -  PTI

It seems Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s ‘love affair’ with the Eden Gardens wicket is not over yet!

The former India skipper, who has been vocal about the Eden Gardens track in the past, got into a new controversy, when he allegedly had a word with the Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) curator Sujan Mukherjee on Wednesday, showing his displeasure over the seaming track.

On a surface that seamed a lot more than usual, Jharkhand managed to pull off a narrow win against Saurashtra to stay alive in the Vijay Hazare Trophy. But the fact that the match lasted for only 52.4 overs, didn’t go down well with Dhoni. So, soon after the match got over, the skipper rushed to Mukherjee’s dugout and spoke for nearly ten minutes.

While some of the insiders in the CAB indicated that Dhoni wasn’t too happy with the wicket, speaking to Sportstar from Kolkata, the CAB curator rubbished all such allegations, terming them as “mere speculations.”

“There was no discussion about the wicket. Dhoni and I go a long way and he had just come to meet me. We spoke at length about everything but the wicket,” Mukherjee said.

The former CAB secretary also made it clear that during the conversation, Dhoni didn’t even point a finger at the wicket. “Rather, I told him that I wasn’t too happy with the wicket, to which he nodded, and said:‘Haan sir, thoda zyada seam ho raha tha’. (Yes sir, it seamed a bit too much). That was all we spoke,” said Mukherjee, who was Dhoni’s East Zone coach during his under-19 days.

The uneven bounce of the track saw only three batsmen from each team enter double digits. “I was in Mumbai on Tuesday to attend an IPL curators’ meeting. It seemed there was some moisture retention that led to the ball swinging. It was one of those days. It will be fine by the next match,” the curator said.

Former India captain and CAB chief Sourav Ganguly, however, was unperturbed with the entire incident. "Did Dhoni complain? If not, then why talk about it," he said.

While the players from the Jharkhand camp remained unavailable for any comment, their coach Rajiv Kumar was not too happy with the way the wicket behaved. “It is a poor advertisement for one-day cricket. You come to watch batsmen score runs in a one-day match. But here making runs was difficult. It was difficult to bat,” Kumar said.

However, his Saurashtra counterpart Sitangshu Kotak downplayed the issue, saying that such things happen in cricket. “There’s no scope for any excuses. We could have played well, and won the game,” Kotak said.

Even though Kotak played it safe, sources in the Saurashtra camp made it clear that the players were not too happy with the way the ball seamed. “The scores speak for themselves. Whoever saw the match at the venue would agree that it was not perfect for a domestic tournament. There was too much movement happening in the middle,” the source said.

During his stint as India captain, Dhoni had time and again slammed the Eden Gardens wicket and even termed it “ugly.” His verbal duels with former CAB curator, late Prabir Mukherjee, had turned ugly during England’s tour of India in 2012.

And now, as Jharkhand gears up for its next couple of games, it would be interesting to see how the wicket behaves.

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