The outcome of the on-going one day international (ODI) series between India and New Zealand is still to be decided. But it was no secret that the second ODI in Pune yesterday was a decider to whether the Kiwis will finally end India’s winning streak or if the men in blue can make a comeback. Thankfully, India is back in form leveling the series. However, it now appears that the outcome of the match between Virat Kohli and Kane Williamson’s side could have been already decided by the bookies.
In a sting operation conducted by India Today, Maharashtra Cricket Association pitch curator Pandurang Salgaonkar allegedly passed on information about the strip to reporters disguised as bookies. The curator was caught on camera agreeing to hamper the pitch surface to suit the demands of the bookies. Not only that, reporters were provided unrestricted access to the pitch which is against the rules framed by the BCCI or the ICC. The rule states that apart from the officials, no other person can come inside the stadium or inspect the pitch ahead of an international match. To add to the misery, during the investigation, the reporters also asked the curator that a couple of players wanted some bounce on the wicket, to which he replied 'it will be done'.
Acting BCCI president, CK Khanna in an interview to Cricketnext said that strict action will be taken against Pandurang Salgaonkar. "The matter has come to our notice and we are looking into the details. Too early to announce the quantum of punishment, but BCCI has a zero-tolerance policy towards corruption and fixing and strong action will be taken if found guilty", he said.
Pune pitch curator Pandurang Salgaonkar was a first-class cricketer himself. After the sting operation, he has been barred from entering the ground. A committee will be soon set up to determine the charges.