Pune curator sacked in tampering scandal

As India and New Zealand prepared for the second ODI the venue's curator was given his marching orders after being caught in a media sting

The curator at the Pune venue where the second ODI between India and New Zealand are playing has been sacked after he was recorded passing information to undercover reporters posing as bookmakers.

Pandurang Salgaoncar, the pitch manager at the Pune ground, was exposed during an undercover sting by India Today TV claiming he doctored the surface ahead of Wednesday's ODI.

"Yes, he has been suspended and banned from entering the stadium," CK Khanna, acting president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), told AFP.

"A neutral curator from Mumbai has taken charge (for the New Zealand ODI). He has inspected the pitch and found it to be perfectly fine. The match is on."

The BCCI later issued a statement to confirm that Salgaoncar had been dismissed.

"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 statement read.

"The BCCI appointed curator Ramesh Mhamunkar was immediately made the point person for the centre wicket and the field of play for the second ODI between India and New Zealand.

"The International Cricket Council (ICC) Match Referee Mr Chris Broad inspected the pitch ahead of the match and cleared the same for the game to go ahead."

In a video recorded by Indian reporters posing as bookmakers, Salgaoncar describes tampering with the pitch.

He also showed the men around the Pune surface the day before the ODI, breaching rules by the International Cricket Council governing access to the pitch.

Salgaoncar, 68, was a fast bowler from Maharashtra in the 1970s before taking up the role of curator with the state association.

"He has certainly let us down. An inquiry has been set up by the Maharashtra Cricket Association to deal with the issue," said Khanna.

"We are also working with the (BCCI) anti-corruption unit to get to the bottom of the matter as everybody has acted very swiftly to the claims of the sting operation."

India need to win Wednesday's match to stay alive in the three-match series, after they were delivered a stunning defeat in the opener in Mumbai on Sunday.

Match Wrap: Aussies thrash India in Pune

Salgaoncar was the curator at Pune or the ground's first Test match, against Australia in February, which the visitors won with Steve O'Keefe taking 12 wickets.

In the days leading into that Pune Test, Salgaoncar pronounced that the ball would "fly" off his pitch throughout a Test that would last five days, during which the surface would hold firmly together.

That claim drew derisive sniggers from the Australia players who had inspected the pitch earlier that same day and saw it to be an over-baked, crumbling mosaic that was destined to take spin from ball one.

The pitch was ultimately rated 'poor' by ICC match referee Chris Broad in his end-of-game report after the Test finished inside three days.