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BCCI sacks ex-cricketer Pandurang Salgaonkar after Pune pitch-fixing ‘exposed’

Pandurang Salgaonkar, the Pune pitch curator and former Maharashtra pacer, has been sacked after being accused of agreeing to tamper the pitch upon request of reporters posing as bookies on the eve of the 2nd ODI between India and New Zealand

india vs new zealand 2017 Updated: Oct 25, 2017 16:18 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
India vs New Zealand,2nd ODI,Pune
MS Dhoni inspects the pitch in Pune ahead of the India vs New Zealand 2nd ODI. Pune pitch curator Pandurang Salgaonkar has been charged with pitch-fixing by BCCI bosses. (BCCI)

The curator at the Maharashtra Cricket Association (MCA) Ground in Pune, Pandurang Salgaonkar, has been sacked 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. (Live updates | Live scorecard)

According to India Today, its reporters, who were posing as bookies, had the pitch curator agreeing to prepare the pitch according to their demands. (WHO IS PANDURANG SALGAONKAR)

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.

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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.

“After reports stating an alleged malpractice from the MCA (Maharashtra State Cricket Association) pitch curator, Mr Pandurang Salgaonkar, the MCA has dismissed Mr Salgaonkar from the position of Curator with immediate effect,” the BCCI stated in a press release.

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”.

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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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What the BCCI top bosses say

Vinod Rai, Chairman - COA: We are looking into the issue and in contact with the concerned officials. We have asked for a detailed report and will act upon it accordingly. At BCCI, we have zero tolerance towards any such activity.

Amitabh Choudhary, Acting Hony. Secretary - BCCI: The BCCI has zero tolerance towards any activity that brings the game to disrepute. We have acted swiftly and ensured that there are no loopholes left ahead of the 2nd ODI between India and New Zealand.

Rahul Johri, CEO - BCCI: A strict action has been taken against the pitch curator and the employment relationship between Mr Pandurang Salgaonkar and MCA stands terminated. The BCCI is in touch with the MCA and appropriate measures will be taken with regards to the matter. The BCCI will continue to enforce strict measures in case of such misconduct in the future.

(With inputs from PTI)

First Published: Oct 25, 2017 11:27 IST