Rohit Sharma stumped by Eden curator

Kolkata, Nov 4 (IANS) Eden Gardens' veteran curator Prabir Mukherjee Monday prevented Indian batsman Rohit Sharma from inspecting the pitch to be used for the India-West Indies Test match beginning Wednesday.

Mukherjee is well known for his steadfast adherence to the rules and traditional values of cricket.

During India's net practice session at the venue, Sharma started walking beside skipper M.S. Dhoni, who was heading to have a look at the pitch. Suddenly, Mukherjee turned around and stopped Sharma.

Mukherjee cited ICC rules, which allows only the team captain and coach to have a look at the track.

Both Sharma and Mukherjee were seen in animated discussion, as Cricket Association of Bengal joint secretary Subir Ganguly rushed to pacify them. The cricketer returned to the nets.

"I can't go beyond the rules. Whatever there is in the ICC rules will have to be strictly adhered to," Mukherjee said after the incident.

Ganguly, however, denied any argument or heated exchange of words on the issue between Mukherjee and Sharma.

"This is a non-issue. Rohit is too nice a boy to raise his voice," Ganguly said.

Earlier in the day, Mukherjee had turned down India coach Duncan Fletcher's request for using a strip adjacent to the centre pitch for use by the bowlers.

Mukherjee again pointed to the rules and said such facilities could be given only a day before the Test match starts.

However, he later relented and allowed the pitch to be used, after an intervention by CAB officials.

Mukherjee had earlier shooed away former England skipper Mike Atherton, who too had gone close to the pitch during the India-England Test last December.

Atherton, a TV broadcaster, had tried to take a close look at the wicket, which had generated a great degree of controversy after Mukherjee slammed Dhoni for demanding a square turner, terming it "immoral and illogical".

The snubbing of Dhoni had generated a lot of controversy. Mukherjee, in charge of the Eden pitch for decades, was "sidelined" and East Zone curator Ashish Bhowmick called in to oversee the ground.

However, an intervention by CAB president Jagmohan Dalmiya saw Mukherjee agreeing to continue with his duties as the curator, a post from which he had sought to be relieved following Bhowmick's arrival.

Things were settled amicably after Dhoni embraced the 84-year-old and called him "boss of Eden".

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