The pitch at the Maharashtra Cricket Association (MCA) stadium in Pune, the venue that hosted the first Test of the series between India and Australia, has come under a lot of criticism for turning out to be a batsman's nightmare, resulting in the match finishing inside three days with a 333-run hammering for the hosts.
BCCI chief curator Daljit Singh, MCA curator and former Maharashtra pacer Pandurang Salgaonkar, and West Zone curator Dhiraj Parsare have been under heavy fire from all sides since the conclusion of the first Test. Among the repercussions that the trio are facing is a 'poor' pitch rating by match referee Chris Broad — the second time Daljit got such a rating for a pitch prepared by him after the Nagpur Test against South Africa in 2015.
And now, former BCCI secretary Ajay Shirke has gone on to allege the occurrence of "pitch-fixing" in Pune, and even demanded an inquiry by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) into the matter.
"I would like to see a CBI inquiry being initiated by the administrators appointed by the Supreme Court. It (doctoring pitches) has often plagued Indian cricket and it is high time we to get to the root of this mess," Shirke was quoted as saying according to a report in Hindustan Times.
Shirke and Anurag Thakur were ousted from their positions in the BCCI by the Supreme Court in January earlier this year, having failed to implement the Lodha committee reforms by the deadline that was given to them. Shirke, also the former MCA chief, used this opportunity to lash out at the current powers-that-be both in the state cricket administration as well as in the BCCI, adding that he would like to see "what steps the court-appointed administrators take to get to the root of pitch fixing".
That was not before questioning whether Salganokar was "intoxicated" while preparing the pitch, or whether he went mad.
Despite starting the series off as the unfancied side, Australia went on to register a crushing victory in the Pune Test. While captain Steve Smith shone with a hard-fought century on a tough pitch, it was Steve O'Keefe's match figures of 12 for 70 — the second-best in India by a visiting bowler — that ultimately set the match up in favour of the visitors.