India vs Australia 2017: BCCI's chief curator in danger of losing his job after Pune farce
ICC have come down hard on the Pune wicket and chief curator, Daljit Singh, is under the scanner.
What's the story?
The chief curator of the BCCI, Daljit Singh, is in danger of losing his job after yet another wicket prepared by him was rated "poor" by the ICC. The senior curator was to oversee the preparation of the Pune pitch for the first Test of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy which Australia won by a whopping 333 runs within 3 days.
The Pune pitch was dry and dusty right from Day 1 and India opened the bowling from one end with Ravichandran Ashwin. Australia benefitted from winning the toss and as the pitch continued to crumble their innocuous left arm spinner, Steven O'Keefe ran through the Indian batting order innings in both innings with twin six-wicket hauls. The pitch was later rated as "poor" by the ICC.
In case you didn't know...
There are rumours that the Pune wicket was tailor-made at the instruction of the Indian team management although skipper, Virat Kohli said he was unaware of any such interventions.
The curator of the pitch, Pandurang Salgaoncar, revealed that he had warned BCCI pitch committee head, Daljit Singh, about the dry wicket. However, when questioned as to why he did not put his foot down as he was in-charge, he said that curators are reduced to mere spectators for international games and they merely follow instructions from BCCI pitch committee.
Daljit was also in charge of another pitch rated "poor" in recent times, the Nagpur wicket in the series against South Africa. That wicket also got a lot of flak for overtly favouring the home side from Day 1.
The heart of the matter
The Pune wicket has attracted a lot of attention after India's twin batting debacles in the first Test. The ball spun extravagantly as the spinners thrived right from ball one on an extremely dry wicket.
While the Indian team management have denied any involvement in the pitch preparation, rumours state that one senior member had spoken to the Pune curators on behalf of the team management. However, even if that were true there is no documented evidence.
"Even if there was instructions from team management, Daljit could have just ignored them. No one can pressurise the curator if he doesn't want to buckle down. But Daljit has had history of succumbing to demands of team management, giving one designer track after another. It's just that Nagpur and Pune were too bad even for his comfort. The COA might look into the matter," a top BCCI source was revealed to have said as per reports by CNN-IBN.
With Australia steamrolling over India in the first Test in Pune, the 70-year-old curator0, Daljit Singh, is in danger of losing his job. The ICC has asked for an explanation to which the BCCI CEO, Rahul Johri, must reply within a 14-day time frame as per ICC guidelines.
Australia seem to be the beneficiary of all this as they find themselves 1-0 up in the series with a certain amount of guarantee that wickets in the next few venues will not take so much turn.
This is the second time in the past 14 months that a pitch under the supervision of Daljit Singh has been rated "poor". Of the 7 such instances where ICC have rated the pitch to be poor, 4 of them have been in India which puts the country in bad light given that they have won a majority of their games on home wickets in their climb to No.1 in Tests.
It is important that ICC strives to improve the consistency in quality of pitches laid out by different countries. BCCI has time and again been accused of welcoming visiting teams with dry and dusty wickets that suit their spinners. It is time to buck this trend and the ICC have rightly intervened in the matter. Better pitch supervisors bring better pitches and Daljit Singh should be prepared to lose his status as Chief Curator.