'Indians have the ability to manage a crisis' - Former MCA President Abhay Apte on 2017 Pune pitch-fixing controversy

Sai Krishna
·2-min read

The pitch at Pune has come under the scanner more than once in the recent past
The pitch at Pune has come under the scanner more than once in the recent past

Former Maharashtra Cricket Association (MCA) President Abhay Apte recently revealed some behind-the-scenes information regarding the Pune curator sting operation scandal of 2017.

In an exclusive interview with Indranil Basu on Sportskeeda Cricket's Facebook page, Abhay Apte touched upon the controversial incident, which saw MCA curator Pandurang Salgaoncar suspended for allegedly agreeing to tamper with the pitch conditions.

When asked about the infamous episode, he said -

"There was something appearing on the TV that there is a sting operation where the curator has said something. There were very damaging titles like 'Pune wicket on sale'. I went there to save the match, or few crores of tickets would have to be refunded. The wicket was absolutely fine, there was no tampering."

'He has suffered immensely' - Abhay Apte

Abhay Apte has been influential in cricket leadership roles
Abhay Apte has been influential in cricket leadership roles

Abhay Apte added that the pitch was approved by the third umpire and match referee, and that the game proceeded without any difficulties.

"The third umpire clarified it and the match began. There was an independent enquiry against an outstanding cricketer. He was given a clean chit, he has come back and joined honourably, but he has suffered immensely - mentally and psychologically."

The former member of the BCCI's legal counsel stated that Indians have the knack of handling dicey situations effectively.

"We had to handle the situation and we did. India won that match also. Indians have that ability to manage crisis situations."

In 2017, ahead of India's second ODI against New Zealand, MCA curator Pandurang Salgaoncar was caught on camera agreeing to tamper with the conditions of the pitch by an undercover reporter posing as a bookie. He was suspended with immediate effect by the governing bodies.

Interestingly, Sangaoncar also came under the scanner for the rank turner that he prepared for a 2017 Test against Australia at Pune. Steve O'Keefe's 12-wicket match haul demolished the Indian batting lineup on that occasion, and pitch was rated 'poor' by the International Cricket Council.