End of an innings for ace curator Daljit Singh
Daljit Singh's 22-year association with pitch-preparation and supervision was fruitful and his genial ways were appreciated by the cricketing fraternity
Daljit Singh has been known as one of the finest and popular curators produced by India, especially at Mohali. Sometimes, the strips came out fine. On other occasions, they didn’t pan out to expectations but Daljit, 77, always did his best for a surface.
Yesterday, Daljit’s innings as a BCCI’s chief curator came to an end. His 22-year association with pitch-preparation and supervision was fruitful and his genial ways were appreciated by the cricketing fraternity. However, Daljit should not only be remembered for his work with grass and soil. He was also an efficient wicketkeeper-batsman, who served the Services, Northern Punjab, Delhi, Bihar and East Zone in first-class cricket.
In fact, Daljit would have been on the 1971 India tour of West Indies, but the Vijay Merchant-led committee picked Rusi Jeejeebhoy, who was his junior in the East Zone team for the Duleep Trophy final against South Zone in January 1971.
He led Bihar in the 1975-76 Ranji Trophy final at Jamshedpur where his team lost to Mumbai. He top-scored with 87 in the second innings before being dismissed by Mumbai pacer Abdul Ismail.
After coaching Karnataka, Bihar and Punjab, Daljit devoted his life to preparing pitches. Conditions at Mohali got a great name after he prepared a bouncy track for Mohali’s Test debut – the third and final India v West Indies Test in 1994 - when the hosts led by Mohammed Azharuddin, lost by 243 runs.
As he walked back to the pavilion, looking forward to opening another page in his life, Daljit did not forget to mention his, “outstanding team of qualified curators who will serve the Indian cricket very well in the future.” He named them too: Taposh Chatterjee, Ashish Bhowmick, Sriram, Chandra Sekhar, Sunil Chauhan, Ramesh Mamonkar, Padiayar, Pankaj Patnaik, Samandar Singh, SB Singh, Prashant Rao, Manohar Jamle, Sujan Mukherjee, Ankit Dutta, Rakesh Kumar and others.
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