PUNE: The curator at the Maharashtra Cricket Association (MCA) Ground in Pune has been caught ‘allowing people to tamper with the pitch’ in a sting operation carried out by a team of Indian journalists ahead of the second ODI between India and New Zealand.
India Today reporters disguised as ‘bookies’ unearthed a massive scandal on Wednesday when they recorded the curator, Pandurang Salgaonkar, revealing that the pitch will be made according to their demands.
The reporters asked Salgaonkar that two players want bounce on the pitch and if it can be done, to which Salgaonkar replied, “It will be done”.
Salgaonkar also said that it is going to be a 337-340 wicket either way. He also assured on camera that a score as big as 337 will be chaseable.
The 68-year old curator even allowed the reporters to inspect the pitch in person, clearly violating the laws set by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and the International Cricket Council (ICC).
Salgaonkar is a former fast bowler who played 63 First-Class matches and 5 List-A games.
The ICC held a pitch inspection in Pune following the scandal but declared the pitch fit for the match and gave a go-ahead to the second ODI.
BCCI suspends curator
The BCCI suspended the curator Pandurang Salgaonkar with immediate effect following the expose.
“Pandurang Salgaoncar has been suspended from the Maharashtra Cricket Association’s curator’s post with immediate effect,” BCCI acting Secretary Amitabh Chaudhary told Indian media.
“The MCA has also suspended Salgaoncar from all other positions in the association. An inquiry commission will also be constituted by MCA. At BCCI, we reiterate that we have zero tolerance towards any corrupt activity,” he added.
It is noteworthy that the pitch in question is the same one which was rated poor by the ICC after the India-Australia Test match was played here in February this year.
Australia had thrashed India by 333 runs after the hosts were bowled out for 105 and 107 in both innings. The match was finished within three days.
New Zealand defeated India by 6 wickets in the first ODI of the ongoing series in Mumbai on Sunday.
ICC probes suspended Pune curator
The ICC has launched a probe into Pandurang Salgaonkar, after he was suspended but the match began on schedule after ICC match referee Chris Broad cleared the pitch.
“We are investigating the allegations from Pune this morning,” an ICC spokesman said.
“As with all international cricket, the ICC Anti-Corruption Unit has an ICC ACU Manager on the ground in India and we are in close contact with him.
“We are now looking to establish the facts and will make no further comment whilst this is ongoing.”