Pune curator in trouble after sting operation ahead of India-New Zealand second ODI
What's the story?
Further controversy surrounds Pune as the Maharashtra Cricket Association pitch curator Pandurang Salgaonkar has been caught on camera giving inside information to journalists disguised as bookies ahead of the second India-New Zealand ODI scheduled to take place in the city on Wednesday (October 25).
In a sting operation done by India Today, Salgaonkar was seen talking to reporters, even allowing them to inspect the pitch in person, which is in violation of the laws of both BCCI and ICC. He was seen telling the reporters that the pitch would be prepared according to their wishes.
When they enquired whether the pitch can be made with extra bounce, as two players wanted it to be the case, Salgaonkar said, "it will be done" before adding that it is going to be a high-scoring wicket in any case, with a total in excess of 300 still being chaseable.
In case you didn't know...
This is not the first time there has been trouble brewing in Pune. Following the first India-Australia Test held on the same pitch, earlier this year where Australia thrashed India by 333 runs, the pitch was rated poor by the ICC. India were bowled out for 105 and 107 in both innings on a rank turner and that ended their incredible unbeaten run in Tests inside three days.
The heart of the matter
With the series in the balance, all eyes will be on Pune as New Zealand hope to seal the series while Virat Kohli's side look to claw their way back after losing the first ODI by six wickets in Mumbai. Speaking about the incident after the sting operation was aired, Maharashtra Cricket Association president assured that the matter will be dealt with.
Abhay Apte told India Today: "We will look into the matter. Rest assured, if anyone found guilty, strict action will be taken."
India take on New Zealand in the second match of the three-match ODI series in Pune, later today, which will decide if India remain alive in the series or the visitors claim it. As far as the curator is concerned, it looks like it is only a matter of time before some action is taken against him, especially on the basis of such firm evidence.
Cricket isn't immune to controversy but a pitch curator allowing bookies to dictate the course of an international match shouldn't be allowed. As a result of the sting operation, it is clear that the pitch being rated poor for the Australia Test earlier this year might not have been an isolated incident. Considering that the series is on the line, such actions shouldn't be tolerated at all and the curator needs to be appropriately punished so that nothing like this happens in the future.