Kolkata, Dec 5 (IANS) Days after he slammed Indian skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni for demanding a rank turner at the Eden Gardens for the Test against England, veteran curator Prabir Mukherjee was Wednesday basking in the adulation from both current and former cricketing greats for the wicket he has prepared for the game.
None other than India's captain cool called him "boss of the Eden".
"Dhoni came to me just after the toss. He shook hands, and then embraced me. Then he told me: "Dada, maine kabhi apko bura bola hai? Kya main bol sakta hoon? (Have I ever said anything negative about you? Can I say such things?)You are the boss of Eden".
The 83-year-old curator was visibly happy. "Dhoni is a gentleman", Mukehrjee told IANS.
However, he said at this stage of his life he was unmoved by both praise and criticism.
"If anything goes wrong, nobody will spare me," he said.
Ahead of the third Test, Mukherjee had threatened to quit his job terming "immoral and illogical" Dhoni's demand that the wicket turn square from the first day.
"It is immoral and illogical to tamper with the pitch as per the liking of the captain. I have not done it in my life. So I want to get rid of it," Mukherjee had said.
Apparently peeved at Mukherjee's outburst, the Indian skipper had cold shouldered the curator Monday during the team's practice session on the iconic ground.
However, apparently happy with the wicket, he decided to end the bitterness.
Mukherjee said he also got compliments from former England captain Ted Dexter, who watched the opening day's play at the ground.
Dexter, who was taken around the park alongside former Indian skipper Nari Contractor in a golf cart, said he was impressed with the wicket.
"This is your place. Come, sit beside me," Mukherjee quoted Dexter as telling him.
Another former Indian captain-turned-commentator Ravi Shastri also lauded the track.
"It is the best surface of the series so far".
Ex England skipper and now a cricket writer Mike Atherton, who was two days back shooed away from near the wicket by Mukherjee, also had good words for the wicket.
"I had told him you should not be on the wicket. This is against the rules. Please go. And he immediately left," he said.
The low and slow track seemed full of runs, but also aided reverse swing. England pacer James Anderson, who picked up three wickets, called the pitch "abrasive" which would assist the pacers both with the new and the old ball throughout the match.
"Unlike the last two matches, the new ball swung here. With the dew around, it well help the new ball and later reverse with the old ball. I think it will continue to swing the whole match," he said.
At the same time, the strip also provided turn to England spinner Monty Panesar.