India vs New Zealand: Kanpur officials tread cautiously post Pune ‘pitch-fixing’
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India vs New Zealand: Kanpur officials tread cautiously post Pune ‘pitch-fixing’

Officials in Kanpur remain tightlipped about the pitch conditions after a major controversy over alleged ‘pitch-fixing’ in Pune

india vs new zealand 2017 Updated: Oct 26, 2017 12:40 IST
Sharad Deep
Sharad Deep
Hindustan Times, Lucknow
India vs New Zealand,Pune pitch-fixing,Pune pitch
The pitch of the Maharashtra Cricket Association (MCA) Stadium in Pune came under the scanner after the curator Pandurang Salgaonkar was caught on camera agreeing to tamper the pitch.(BCCI)

Following the sacking of Pune curator Pandurang Salgaonkar ahead of the second ODI between India and New Zealand, neither the pitch curator nor the ground staff of the Green Park stadium in Kanpur, the venue of the third ODI, is ready to say anything ‘officially’.

The third and final ODI between India and New Zealand is on Sunday. “It’s not because of the incident at Pune that we are tightlipped. But technically we aren’t allowed to make any prediction about the pitch behaviour,” UPCA curator Shiv Kumar told HT on Wednesday.

Following the Pune incident, the UPCA and district administration have already tightened their vigil around the staff and others who have access to the ground and pavilion.

READ | Why Shoaib Akhtar is upset over Pune ‘pitch-fixing’ controversy

UPCA’s concern seems genuine as in May, three suspected bookies were arrested from the team hotel in Kanpur ahead of an Indian Premier League match between hosts Gujarat Lions and Delhi Daredevils. The Kanpur police reportedly even questioned two Gujarat Lions players who were allegedly named by the suspected bookies.

During the arrest, police had found Rs 40.90 lakh in cash and five mobile phones from the suspects – identified as Ramesh Nayan Shah, a businessman from Thane, Mumbai, and two Kanpur residents Ramesh Kumar and Vikas Chauhan.

Interestingly, Ramesh Kumar, who had a contract of putting up hoardings in the stadium, had booked the room for Shah, who was in touch with someone called Bunty, a bookie from Ajmer, to whom he used to pass on information following which bets were placed.

READ | Underpaid pitch curators soft targets for bookies: Venkat Sundaram

During questioning, Shah allegedly disclosed the names of two Gujarat Lions players with whom he was in touch. Shah had sent a WhatsApp message to Bunty naming the players and claimed that they were ‘set’ and will do as asked, police sources had claimed. Shah had also sent out close up photographs of the wicket before the match.

In one WhatsApp message, Shah mentioned that Gujarat Lions would lose the match even after scoring 200 runs. Stunned by the incident, the BCCI had issued a statement claiming that a betting bid was ‘foiled’.

“The Anti-Corruption Unit of the BCCI has been tracking activities of certain individuals, as a result of which, three suspects were arrested in Kanpur. The Uttar Pradesh police crime branch could successfully foil the alleged betting attempts,” it had said then.

First Published: Oct 26, 2017 12:16 IST