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Former Eden Gardens pitch curator Prabir Mukherjee passes away

Prabir Mukherjee was in charge of the Eden Gardens pitch and outfield for almost 25 years before his retirement.

Prabir Mukherjee
Prabir Mukherjee (second from right) with Team India cricketers (Image courtesy: Cricbuzz)

Former Eden Gardens pitch curator Prabir Mukherjee breathed his last on Tuesday at his residence in Kolkata. Mukherjee, who had been in the thick of numerous controversies in the past, was 86-years-old and was suffering from a liver condition along with other age-related problems.

Formerly an accounts officer at South Eastern Railways, Prabir Mukherjee was in charge of the Eden Gardens pitch and outfield for almost 25 years before his retirement. A sportsman himself, the 86-year-old was not only a fast bowler but also goalkeeper during his heydays in the 1940s. Mukherjee's playing days ended after being involved in a road accident in 1952 and that's when he became fully involved with the gentlemen's game.

Karthik Bose, the erstwhile chief coach of Bengal was the one who introduced Prabir to the art of pitch-making. He was also elected as the secretary of Bengal National Railways Club in 1964.

Also read: Veteran Eden curator admits being sidelined after questioning Dhoni

Mukherjee became an indispensable part of the Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) in 1979. The 86-year-old went on to become the manager of not only Bengal but also the East Zone side soon after his active involvement with the governing body of Bengal cricket.

He was also in charge of a number of high-profile international matches that were held at the Eden Gardens including the 1987 World Cup final and the ill-fated World Cup semi-final match between India and Sri Lanka in 1996.

Having said that, Prabir Mukherjee's last wish was that his dead body should not be taken to the CAB premises for others to pay their last respects. According to a member of his family, Mukherjee wasn't happy with the way he was treated by the Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) administrators in the latter part of his career.

Moreover, it has been reported that he was extremely displeased when numerous fingers were pointed at him after the third and final T20 International match between India and South Africa was washed out due to rain in 2015.

Prabir Mukherjee: A man of controversies

Mukherjee had been involved in numerous controversies throughout his career. Back in 2012, he was involved in a squabble with Mahendra Singh Dhoni as he did not meet the demands of preparing a turning track for a Test match against England. Incidentally, England went on to win the match by 7 wickets and eventually the series by a margin of 2-1.

In the recent past, Mukherjee had been in charge of the pitches and the ground at Deshbandhu Park (CAB Academy) as well as the Jadavpur University grounds (Kolkata's second first-class venue after Eden Gardens since 2002).

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