Updated: November 8, 2021 8:50:50 am
Just hours before the New Zealand versus Afghanistan game in Abu Dhabi on Sunday, the chief curator of the Zayed Cricket Stadium Mohan Singh was found dead in his room.
The cause of death is not known and the International Cricket Council (ICC) is tight-lipped on the issue.
Singh, who cut his teeth under former BCCI chief curator Daljit Singh at Mohali, moved to Abu Dhabi in 2004. He was in charge of the pitch preparation for today’s T20 World Cup fixture in which New Zealand beat Afghanistan to progress to the semifinals and eliminate India from the tournament.
The ICC put out a statement, saying: “The International Cricket Council has sent its condolences to the family of Mohan Singh, the curator at the Zayed Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi who passed away earlier today.”
The ICC and Abu Dhabi Cricket send their condolences to Mohan Singh’s family.https://t.co/13RKNXtWlO
— ICC (@ICC) November 7, 2021
Daljit recounted his association with Mohan. “He came to Mohali from Uttarakhand at a young age prior to the 1996 World Cup and showed a lot of interest in learning the skill and science to produce good pitches. Out of all the groundsmen working under me, he was the most sincere as well as eager to learn,” Daljit told this paper.
He spoke about how Mohan took the initiative to learn. “During his days as a groundsman, he was able to understand soil testing and rolling patterns as also the various techniques of using fertilisers, acquiring his knowledge through books and practical work.”
He would touch base with his mentor, especially about preparing pitches for Test matches, when the long-form came to this part of the world in 2010.
“After relocating to UAE, he would call me before matches to discuss higher temperatures in the desert and the challenges it presented. I would tell him about the right amount of watering and also adequate grass cover to ensure that the matches lasted the distance,” Daljit said.
As the ex-BCCI chief curator mentioned, Mohan took Sunil Gavaskar’s praise as a badge of honour. “When UAE hosted Test matches (it became Pakistan’s adopted home), he would speak about the praise he received for preparing good pitches. Once Sunil Gavaskar praised him and he was very happy about that.”
With inputs from Nitin Sharma
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