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Pune pitch curator Pandurang Salgaonkar feels victimised by ‘undue allegations’

The International Cricket Council (ICC) on Tuesday gave clean chit to Pandurang Salgaonkar on allegations of trying to doctor the pitch for last year’s India-New Zealand ODI in Pune. He was, however, suspended for six months for not reporting a corrupt approach

cricket Updated: Mar 06, 2018 22:49 IST
PTI, New Delhi
Pandurang Salgaonkar,ICC,Pune pitch curator
Pandurang Salgaonkar admitted that it was his fault for not reporting a corrupt approach. (Hindustan Times)

Veteran curator Pandurang Salgaonkar on Tuesday alleged that a particular news channel levelled “undue allegations” against him for the sake of publicity, which “impacted” him mentally.

The International Cricket Council (ICC) on Tuesday gave clean chit to Salgaonkar on allegations (levelled by a national news channel) of trying to doctor the pitch for last year’s ODI against New Zealand in Pune.

READ | ICC suspends Pune curator Pandurang Salgaonkar for anti-corruption code breach

The suspension according to ICC is based on “not reporting a corrupt approach” with categorical statement that “no evidence of corruption” has been found against the former Maharashtra pacer.

“I have been humble servant of cricket and have served the game over last 50 years in various capacity. For publicity and attention, undue allegations were made against me,” Salgaonkar was quoted as saying in a press statement issued by his family.

On not reporting a corrupt approach, Salgaonkar admitted that it was his fault but also cited pressing family issue being one of the reasons.

READ | ICC anti-corruption official grills sacked Pune curator Pandurang Salgaonkar

“I have accepted the judgement that I have failed on reporting to ACU. That was primarily due to the fact that my wife was in critical condition and was hospitalized one day prior to the match and also my involvement in preparation for the match, which had mentally and physically over occupied. However I accept and respect the decision of ICC.”

“This was an extreme and unnecessary allegation from India Today and has impacted me mentally. I am thankful to ICC for being non-discriminatory and conducting an extensive enquiry about the allegations and bringing true picture in-front of everyone.”

It was a day when a family that had quietly suffered for the past six months heaved a sigh of relief

“Our family had gone through unimaginable turmoil during the last six months. The TV channel which tried to tarnish my father’s reputation with unsubstantiated allegations didn’t even realize what a family had to go through. My mother was in Intensive Care Unit,” Salgaonkar’s daughter Pradnya told PTI.

READ | BCCI Anti Corruption Unit closely monitoring pitch preparation after Pune TV sting

She thanked ICC for releasing the verdict with every detail. “We are very thankful to the ICC for their non-discriminatory approach while carrying out the investigations. We always knew that he (Salgaonkar) was innocent and was being framed,” Pradnya said.

She made it clear that the family had faith in the system. “We knew truth would prevail. We had faith in the system. What hurt us most is that my father had given his life to cricket. There were times when he put the game above family,” the daughter said.

However, Pradnya refused to comment about whether Salgaonkar will be back to preparing pitches. Neither did she divulge whether the family will file a defamation suit against the two journalists, who were allegedly responsible for tarnishing the image of the 68-year-old.

“You people will have to give us some time. Right now, we have just received the verdict. We need to discuss and deliberate on the road ahead,” Pradnya concluded.

First Published: Mar 06, 2018 22:49 IST