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Full conversation between pitch curator and the reporter captured in the sting operation

Pandurang Salgaonkar was suspended by BCCI after being exposed by a news channel.

MS Dhoni
MS Dhoni takes a look at the pitch ahead of 2nd ODI. (Photo Source: Twitter)

The second ODI between India and New Zealand was under threat when the video of Pune curator unveiling the details of the pitch surfaced. It was the sting operation carried out by an India Today reporter which exposed Pandurang Salgaonkar who was caught asking money for preparing the pitch based on the requirement of the bookie. He informed the game would be a high-scoring one and anything around 337 could be chaseable.

The news spread like wildfire and even the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) was shocked as they right away suspended the curator to avoid any further complications. However, the match underwent smoothly without any hindrance and Team India levelled the series by winning the must-win encounter by 6 wickets. Also, the match was a comparatively low-scoring one against Salgaonkar’s assurance. The wicket slowed down as the game progressed and even Indian opener Shikhar Dhawan acknowledged that stroke making was difficult in the evening.

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What was the conversation between the two?

Pandurang Salgaonkar, however, is under investigation as the International Cricket Council (ICC) will also now look into the case. As per the rules, no one apart from the designated officials can come inside the stadium and inspect the pitch. But the reporter in the sting operation was allowed to take a close look at the pitch. The curator is a former cricketer and represented Maharashtra in the 1970s; he was also caught saying that he wouldn’t tell anyone about the incident.

BCCI was furious after digging into the details of the matter and cleared that the board has a zero-tolerance policy against corruption. They also assured that strict action would be taken on Salgaonkar if found guilty in the case. As things stand now, he is suspended and is not allowed inside the stadium. Also, the incident has exposed the shortcomings of BCCI’s Anti Corruption and Security Unit (ACSU) and it remains to be seen if the board takes any steps in order to resurrect the issues.

Here’s the whole conversation between the curator and the undercover reporter as broadcast by India Today:

Reporter: Sir, how’s this India-New Zealand pitch is made?
Pandurang Salgaocar: Very good pitch…337 will be scored.

Reporter: Sure?

PS: Sure and 337 will be chase-able.

Reporter: Is this the same pitch you showed us yesterday (Oct 23).

PS: Yes.

Reporter: Number 8.

PS: There’s no doubt about it.

Reporter: Strangers are not allowed near pitches for international matches?

PS: It’s not allowed. Still, we did it because we have the power. The BCCI observer and curator here. The BCCI curator is sitting on my head.

Reporter: Okay.

PS: Is that the BCCI’s curator.

PS: There’s an observer.

Reporter: What’s his name?

PS: (Ramesh) Mhamunkar.

Reporter: No outsider can access the pitch, right Sir.

PS: No.

PS: No one can the BCCI’s law.

Reporter: The BCCI’s or the ICC’s?

PS: BCCI and ICCI.

PS: If someone asks me tomorrow, I’d say no one came. I don’t know.

Reporter: Two ***** players want some bounce on the pitch. If that can be done.

PS: It will be given.

Reporter: Sure? Done?

PS: Sure. Done.

Reporter: We want New Zealand (beep) to be favoured in the October 25 match between India and New Zealand.

PS: New Zealand prefer bowling with spinners. Our pitch always suits fast bowler. I told you this is a 340-run wicket, either way.

Reporter: That’s fine. That can be bet on. But we want New Zealand (beep) to be favoured.

PS: That will be done good. I told you.

Reporter: Will they be favoured.

PS: It will be done.

Reporter: Can the condition of the pitch be changed in 30 minutes?

PS: Yes in five minutes. It is a very difficult and a dangerous job.

Reporter: How is it done?

PS: By digging a small hole and pour a bottle of water. The nature of the pitch will change. And like how you did…you can stamp the pitch… dig in your heel and turn. Then the pitch will get damaged.

Reporter: How much should we pay you?

PS: First you see the match. Then you deal with me.

Reporter: When should I pay you?

PS: Let the match get over.

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