CAB gags Eden curator

Kolkata: The Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) on Wednesday barred Eden Gardens curator Prabir Mukherjee from speaking to the media ahead of the India-West Indies Test match beginning Nov 6 in the wake of the ground fiasco which saw the Oct27-30 Bengal-Baroda Ranji Trophy match being a non-starter despite three consecutive sunny days after a downpour.

After match referee Manu Nayar declared the match abandoned on day four due to a "soggy outfield", Mukherjee reportedly told a section of the media that the game could have been played.

Kolkata was lashed by heavy rains on Saturday, and received a drizzle Sunday.

"Such comments create confusion. We don`t want such confusion before a Test match. So, we have asked him not to speak to the media," CAB treasurer Biswarup Dey said.

CAB sources said Mukherjee also violated the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) directive to use the centre pitch - to be used in the coming Test match - for the Ranji game. The BCCI had insisted the Ranji tie be played on the particular strip as it did not want to take the risk of playing the Test match on a virgin track since the ground was relaid last season.

Mukherjee, however, told the media he did not use the centre strip for the Ranji match because he wanted to prevent possible wear and tear of the pitch before the Test match.

CAB joint secretary Sujan Mukherjee said he was "completely in the dark" that the surface readied for the Ranji fixture was different from the one to be used in the Test.

Meanwhile, a senior CAB official tried to explain the abandonment of the Ranji match saying it was difficult to dry the ground as the stadium was very close to the Hooghly river. "Because of its proximity to the river, it takes time for the water level to recede," he said.

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