Questions raised about BCCI chief curator’s role in Pune wicket

Two days before the Pune Test, local curator Pandurang Salgaoncar announced the “ball will fly”. His comments were completely contrary to what was on display on the first two days, which has given rise to a speculation if BCCI’s chief curator intervened in the preparation of the pitch.

A view of the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium in Pune.   -  The Hindu

With 24 wickets falling in two days at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium in Gahunje, questions are being raised about the preparation of the pitch.

Two days before the Test, local curator Pandurang Salgaoncar had announced that the “ball will fly”, a theory that was rubbished by rival captain Steve Smith, who said that “ball will turn from Day 1.”

Salgaoncar’s comments were completely contrary to what was on offer for first two days, which has given rise to speculation whether local curator got a free hand or if there was intervention from Board of Control for Cricket in India’s chief curator Daljit Singh on the Indian team’s insistence.

“Pandurang Salgaoncar is known to provide flattest of decks in Pune. If you look at Kedar Jadhav’s massive scores in Ranji Trophy, you would know. Only a month back, India and England scored 350 plus during ODIs. How come the character of the pitch changed diabolically?” questioned a former India player, who has played a lot in Pune.

The pitch wasn’t watered during last few days and the scorching heat added to cracks that are slowly opening up.

A senior BCCI official questioned Daljit’s role.

“Did Daljit get any specific instructions from Indian team management to prepare a certain kind of track? Or it was him who instructed Salgaoncar that pitch should be allowed to remain dry?” asked a senior BCCI official.

“I don’t think Indian team would have wanted a pitch that would have boomeranged this bad. But Daljit has always had this fascination to leave some grass on track,” the senior official, who has known Daljit for over a decade, added.

The other question that is now being asked is how come Daljit is being allowed to continue as chief curator, as he is pushing 80 years.

“Daljit is already 79 years old. If you can’t have national selectors above 60 years, if your administrators have to quit at 70 and employees are made to retire at 60, how come Daljit is still continuing. And if one feels that he doesn’t have a replacement, then one should question the innumerable workshop of curators that we have had over the years,” the official said.

“There is Tapash Chatterjee of Rajasthan, Ashish Bhowmick of Tripura and Ankit Datta of Delhi — the younger lot of curators. Why aren’t these youngsters being given more responsibility?” the official questioned.