India will kick off the upcoming Border-Gavaskar Trophy in Nagpur on 9 February 2023. But, ahead of the series opener, the pitch has been in the headlines for the last few days. Now, ex-pitch curator of Naspur, Kishore Pradhan opened up about the 2004 Test between India and Australia where Sourav Ganguly was the captain.
India came to that match while trailing 1-0 to the Aussies after losing one and drawing the other one. So, the Men in Blue were looking to avoid a defeat as that would give the visitors an unassailable lead. Eventually, Australia won that match and won the series 2-1 as India won the last Test. But, controversies are there as Sourav Ganguly opted out of the Nagpur match due to an injury. Now, regarding that whole pitch saga, Kishore Pradhan shared his views in an exclusive chat with the Indian Express.
Sourav Ganguly and Harbhajan Singh did not play in the 2004 Nagpur Test against Australia
Pradhan said: “Once (Sourav) Ganguly saw the pitch, he thought I prepared it on my own. He spoke to me explaining the strengths and weaknesses of both teams. He then met the then-VCA president Shashank Manohar. I also told him that the surface has been prepared in consultation with the VCA chief and coach K Jayantilal. ‘This is the wicket we have prepared and you have to play on it’, I tried explaining to Ganguly”. But, Sourav Ganguly and Harbhajan Singh opted out of that match.
“There were no demons on the pitch. It was all about applying yourself but unfortunately, our batters lost the battle in the mind even before the start of the contest,” Pradhan added. In his autobiography ‘Standing My Ground’, Matthew Hayden also raised the same question. He said: “When Ganguly and Harbhajan went out to see the deck a couple of days before the game, they looked like farmers inspecting crops after a hail storm. We predicted neither would play and they did not. Ganguly withdrew with a leg-muscle injury that flared up suddenly and Harbhajan had an even more sudden dose of food poisoning. We put their ailments down to acute cases of ‘greentrackitis’, where you develop a severe intolerance to green wickets likely to give you nothing as a spin bowler and plenty of headaches as a batsman.” After such comments, it seemed that the ex-pitch curator of Nagpur put allegations of running away from that match on the former India skipper.
Some fans also came up with some tweets to troll Sourav Ganguly on Twitter
Bodied Danduly Sahab😭😭
— Sahil (@mysondaniel86is) February 7, 2023
Lol bodied Ganduly
— Vinay Gaonkar (@VinayGaonkar19) February 7, 2023
Opted out of the match with an injury? 😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂
— Bilal Hussain (@ibilalhusain) February 7, 2023
— Sarthak Tripathi (@Tsarthak_26) February 7, 2023
Bhai tu akela nahi hai jo green wicket dekh kar injury ka bahana bana kar match se bahar ho jata hai pic.twitter.com/Hv57gRUEwy
— Ankit Pathak 🇮🇳 (@ankit_acerbic) February 7, 2023
coward ganguly 🤣🤣
— TANMAY (@spear_93) February 7, 2023
He's not dada, he's dalda pic.twitter.com/HKw6u6FUxH
— Vamsy Creazioniii (@thordarlingfan) February 7, 2023
Rohit when asked to play on Green wicket🥰 pic.twitter.com/AW8nRXWJey
— Amaan (@devilscricket) February 7, 2023