Pandurang Salgaonkar, the Pune pitch curator, has been suspended after being accused of agreeing to tamper the pitch upon request of reporters disguised as bookies on the eve of the 2nd ODI between India and New Zealand.
The curator at the Maharashtra Cricket Association (MCA) Ground in Pune, Pandurang Salgaonkar, has been suspended after being accused of ‘allowing people to tamper with the pitch’ on the eve of the second ODI between India and New Zealand, in their ongoing three-match series. BCCI curator Ramesh Mhamunkar will take over his duties for the game.
According to India Today, its reporters ‘disguised as bookies’ had the pitch curator agreeing to prepare the pitch according to their demands.
The second ODI is set to be played Wednesday afternoon with the Indian cricket team under pressure to level the series after the Kiwis took a 1-0 lead in Mumbai last Sunday.
Salgaonkar, a former fast bowler who played 63 First-Class matches and 5 List-A games claiming 214 and 4 wickets, respectively, is also accused to have allowed the reporters on the pitch and tamper with it. He has now been barred from entering the ground.
“Pandurang Salgaonkar has been suspended from the Maharashtra Cricket Association’s curator’s post with immediate effect,” BCCI acting Secretary Amitabh Chaudhary told PTI.
“The MCA has also suspended Salgaonkar 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.
The India Today report added that a clear violation of rules from ICC and the BCCI was witnessed when the curator allowed the reporters to inspect the pitch themselves. When asked if he could prepare the pitch in regards to two players wanting extra bounce, Salgaonkar replied by saying “it will be done”.
The curator claimed that the pitch for the second ODI on Wednesday is expected to witness a run-fest, with teams being able to put up 337-340 runs ‘either way’. The curator is also reported to have claimed that a target of 337 will be chaseable.
The match is going ahead as planned after an ICC observer inspected the pitch and found no discrepancies.
Salgaonkar – a prolific pacer in his heydays
Salgaonkar, a former Maharashtra speedster, was considered a genuine India prospect in early and mid ‘70s.
He toured with the Indian team for an unofficial series against Sri Lanka back in 1974. Sunil Gavaskar’s autobiography ‘Sunny Days’ has a mention of him being a genuine prospect, who was unlucky not to don national colours.
The former pacer took 214 wickets in 63 first-class games.
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