Alleged match-fixing sparks controversy ahead of Blackcaps v India ODI

Pitch-fixing in cricket

The BCCI on Wednesday suspended the Pune pitch curator Pandurang Salgaonkar after divulging details regarding the pitch in a TV sting operation ahead of the 2nd ODI match at Pune between India and New Zealand.

The India Today footage of Salgaoncar talking to a reporter, who was posing as a bookmaker, was broadcast a few hours before the match. "It will be done", Salgaoncar is quoted as saying by India Today. Ramesh Mamunkar is now overseeing the Pune pitch.

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The channel showed a recording of undercover reporters approaching Salgaoncar and asking for a pitch which will favour the fast bowlers. "It is very good". According to the pitch curator, a pitch has been prepared on which the score of 337 can be easily made. He also reported that the 340 will be chaseable.

He was also seen showing the men around the surface, breaching ICC rules about access to the pitch. Salgaoncar replies that the pitch always helps fast bowlers. "We have acted swiftly and ensured that there are no loopholes left ahead". "The BCCI observer is also sitting around", Salgaoncar said.

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Salgaoncar, himself a former cricketer, also permitted the investigative reporters to take a test walk on the pitch and stamp it with the feet. An inquiry will now take place into the events. "We are investigating the allegations from Pune this morning, as with all global cricket, the ICC Anti-Corruption Unit has an ICC ACU Manager on the ground in India and we are in close contact with him", an ICC spokesperson told ESPNcricinfo.

MCA president Abhay Apte said: "The MCA will be making a detailed enquiry on what has happened or what has appeared on the television". The match should go ahead as planned, despite the scandal, unless the match referee finds evidence of the pitch being doctored, Amitabh Chaudhary told. But before we have our urgent meeting, in the capacity of the MCA President, I have taken Mr. Salgaonkar under suspension with immediate effect, and all his work has been withdrawn, including his basic membership with the MCA has been withdrawn.

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