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Pitch Dr Prabir defies physician

Following a run-in with India skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Eden curator Prabir Mukherjee is as famous as any other Test cricketer, but for wrong reasons. At 83, Mukherjee has been strictly advised by his doctor to stay away from the job which has caused so much tension over the past week.


Curator Prabir Mukherjee with India captain MS Dhoni at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata yesterday. Pic/Ajay Roy

“I have been advised complete rest as my blood pressure was high, but I am clear that I haven’t done anything wrong. Since there is no one at home to take care of me, I have to do it myself and so won’t risk my health anymore. But I am happy the India captain came up to me and buried the hatchet saying, ‘I have never disrespected you, Dada,’ ” a relieved Mukherjee revealed.

Coping with grief
Considering the fact that a tragedy took place at his home earlier this year, it’s quite surprising that at the age of 83 he is still in his elements. According to a Cricket Association of Bengal functionary, Mukherjee had lost his daughter six months ago.

“That was very unfortunate. He lost his daughter, who died in tragic circumstances during the last Indian Premier League,” the official told MiD DAY.

There was more trauma for him as he lost his wife within a week of that incident.

“His wife couldn’t take this tragedy in her stride and succumbed. Mukherjee has to be given enormous credit for still hanging around with a brave face. We have been working together for more than four decades and can gauge his mental state.

“He is completely broken, but keeps himself involved with the preparation of the pitch, which is his passion. He doesn’t want anything in return,” the official said.

It may be recalled that Mukherjee was at the receiving end when he refused to give in to Dhoni’s demand for a rank turner, which prompted the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to send Ashish Bhowmick, the east zone representative of the pitch and grounds committee to sort things out.

But even after so much controversy, the Eden wicket had all the ingredients of a good Test match strip.

“What more do you expect from the wicket? It’s a true wicket. The seamers got help initially and then spinners had their time too. It’s a typical Eden wicket,” former national selector and Bengal stalwart Sambaran Banerjee felt. 

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