Kolkata: The Eden Gardens pitch, which caused much embarrassment to hosts India both on and off the field during the previous World Cup in the subcontinent 15 years ago, would provide the best 22-yard strip in the current edition, says its curator.
"We will provide the best wicket of the World Cup. It will be full of runs. It will be firm and have pace and even bounce," said crurator Prabir Mukherjee, two days before South Africa and Ireland battle it out in a Group B game Tuesday.
It was a shameful evening for India in another March evening in 1996, when an under-prepared track crumbled fast during India's innings as they lost wickets in a heap in a World Cup semifinal match against Sri Lanka.
The match could not be completed as angry spectators rained bottles and missiles that threatened the security of the players. Finally Sri Lanka was adjudged the winner on account of crowd disturbance.
What could bring smiles to the faces of the likes of South African pace spearhead Dale Steyn is the amount of grass in the strip. And Mukerjee promises that the tinge of green will remain.
"I have never compromised on things like grass. Not even the most formidable of players have been able to browbeat me into making a bald wicket," said Mukherjee.
Out of three World Cup matches to be staged here this week, two will be day-night affairs, but Mukherjee said dew would not be a problem. "At this point of the year dew is not a problem here," he said.
He said while seam movement will be there, batsmen would not have to negotiate lateral movement.