In a shocking bit of news, hours before the start of the New Zealand vs Afghanistan match at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi, the chief curator of the facility - Mohan Singh - was found dead in his room. He was in his mid-40s. While the cause of his death is still not known, there is no official statement from the International Cricket Council (ICC) in this regard.
Mohan had worked extensively with former BCCI chief curator Daljit Singh at Mohali before moving to the middle east in the early 2000s. He was also at the helm of affairs to ensure the match between New Zealand and Afghanistan is played on a sporting wicket. Eventually, the Kiwis registered an 8-wicket win in this fixture and sealed a place for themselves in the semifinal, eliminating both Afghanistan and India.
"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 said in a statement.
Here is the tweet from ICC:
Meanwhile, Daljit has also given an interview after Mohan's demise where he recalled 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 Indian Express.
"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 added.
"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 recalled.
Meanwhile, Abu Dhabi Cricket has also released a statement in appreciation for Mohan's service over the years. He has been with them for 15 years and has been instrumental in the venue's success during this time.
"Tributes to Mohan and his incredible achievements will be honoured in the coming days," Abu Dhabu Cricket stated in an official statement.