Pune pitch scandal: ACSU ready to ‘help’ ICC ‘if required’

On Wednesday morning, reports emerged that Pune pitch curator Pandurang Salgaonkar had agreed to ‘tamper’ the pitch after some television reporters, posed as bookies, approached him.

ICC match referee Chris Broad (L) inspects the pitch ahead of the 2nd (ODI) cricket match between India and New Zealand at The Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium in Pune on October 25.   -  AFP

 

Even as Board of Control for Cricket in India’s (BCCI) acting president C. K. Khanna says that he has written to the Board’s Anti-Corruption and Security Unit (ACSU) to look into the Pune pitch scandal, Sportstar has reliably learnt that the ACSU will only ‘help’ the ICC ‘if required’.

On Wednesday morning, reports emerged that Pune pitch curator Pandurang Salgaonkar had agreed to ‘tamper’ the pitch after some television reporters, posed as bookies, approached him. And reacting strongly, the Board’s acting president told Sportstar that it would investigate the matter and even asked the ACSU chief Neeraj Kumar to look into it and submit a report.

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But a highly-placed source in the Board-run ACSU confirmed to Sportstar that it will only react if the ICC asks them to. “Nobody from the Board has asked us to look into the matter. And it being an international match, it comes under the purview of the ICC, and the ICC’s ACU. They are looking into the matter,” the source said.

The ball now is in ICC’s court, the source confirmed that it will coordinate with the ICC’s ACU team if they require any local help. “If they (the ICC) need any local help, we will provide that. They already have an ICC ACU manager in Pune and more officers are likely to join from the headquarters. They will act together and conduct a probe,” the source said, quickly adding: “We will act only in case they (the ICC) ask for our help.”

Asked whether the domestic ACSU unit will conduct any internal probe into the matter, the source said that it will depend on the findings of the ICC’s ACU. “There is no point in duplicating. If they ask us to look into any particular area, we will do that,” the source said. This indicates that the Board-run ACSU has very little to do in the case, which falls under the jurisdiction of the ICC.

On its part, the ICC has already started the investigation. Confirming the development, an ICC spokesperson told Sportstar: “We are investigating the allegations from Pune this morning, as with all international cricket, the ICC Anti-Corruption Unit has an ICC ACU Manager on the ground in India and we are in close contact with him.”

The spokesperson also added that the cricket’s governing body is looking into all the areas. “We are now looking to establish the facts and will make no further comment whilst this is ongoing,” the spokesperson said.