Prabir Mukherjee, the 83-year-old Eden Gardens curator, doesn’t give a hoot about the big names. We know how vociferously he turned down MS Dhoni’s demand for a rank turner despite pressure from all quarters. On Sunday, former England captain Michael Atherton saw the forthrightness of the man. Atherton wanted to have a close view of the Eden Gardens wicket but was stopped in his track by Mukherjee. Mukherjee was clear that Atherton wouldn’t be given any concession denied to others. Atherton tried to reason with Mukherjee before walking off and occupying a seat several yards away from the practice area.
“I told Atherton categorically that only the players and support staff were allowed to come near the wicket. Everybody is bound by the same rules,” Mukherjee told DNA. Apparently, Mukherjee had once given an earful to former England opener Geoffrey Boycott for a similar offence.
As you would expect, not a word was exchanged between Mukherjee and Dhoni when India arrived for practice. Harbhajan, however, was seen exchanging notes with the curator. After all the hullabaloo about the wicket, the Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) had instructed Mukherjee to not respond to media queries. A journalist asked Mukherjee what pulsed between him and Harbhajan. “He (Bhajji) advised that I must never trust a friend,” Mukherjee said, breaking into a guffaw.
You can’t keep a voluble man quiet, can you?