BCCI pitch committee chairman Venkat Sundaram says 'underpaid groundsmen' are soft targets for bookies

Besides being a pitch expert, Sundaram is a former First-Class batsman who played against the now suspended Pune curator and former pacer Pandurang Salgaoncar, in the '70s and the '80s.

PTI, October 25, 2017

A curator falling to the lure of corrupt money doesn't come as a surprise to former BCCI pitch committee chairman Venkat Sundaram, who says "underpaid groundsmen" are vulnerable to such approaches.

Besides being a pitch expert, Sundaram is a former First-Class batsman who played against the now suspended Pune curator and former pacer Pandurang Salgaoncar, in the '70s and the '80s.

Representative image. AFP

Representative image. AFP

Salgaoncar was suspended after being caught in a sting operation, agreeing to tamper with the pitch on the approach of an undercover reporter, posing as a bookie.

"Players and officials have been involved in corruption in the past so the next soft target was very much likely to be the curators, who in my opinion are hugely underpaid compared to match officials and players," Sundaram told PTI.

The five zonal curators of the BCCI are paid around Rs 50,000 per month while the state associations pay their curators directly and the amount is a modest one. It is far lesser than what other stakeholders of the game, players and officials, get.

A First-Class cricketer earns around Rs 12 lakh per annum while umpires and referees are paid around Rs 20,000 per match.

"The India cricketers are earning in crores, the First- Class players are earning in lakhs and they deserve to. But you also have to look after the groundsmen.

"Not only the chief curator is underpaid, some of the other groundsmen make just about Rs 10,000 to 15,000 per month. But it is still no justification for you to be corrupt and venture into pitch tampering," said Sundaram, who played 81 First-Class games for Delhi and Tamil Nadu.

Depending on the requirement, as many as 20 people look after the field of play of a stadium.

Back in 2012, when he was pitch committee chief, Sundaram had taken up the pay issue with the then president N Srinivasan.

"I did speak to him then and he said it was the responsibility of the state associations as BCCI anyway was doing a lot for them," he recalled.

Sundaram said he felt sorry for his contemporary Salgaoncar, who has now been suspended by the Maharashtra Cricket Association for allegedly agreeing to doctor the pitch ahead of the second ODI between India and New Zealand.

"He was India's fastest bowler back then and came from a poor background. If he had played for bigger centres like Bombay, he would have ended up playing for India. I feel sorry for him. He also did well as a curator," said Sundaram.

Sundaram also served as a DDCA curator for a long time and claims the controversy-prone association still owes him Rs 25 lakh.

Updated Date: Oct 25, 2017

T20 LEAGUE POINTS TABLE

Pos. Team P W L D Pts.
1
Hyderabad
14 9 5 0 18
2
Chennai
14 9 5 0 18
3
Kolkata
14 8 6 0 16
4
Rajasthan
14 7 7 0 14
5
Mumbai
14 6 8 0 12
6
Bangalore
14 6 8 0 12
7
Punjab
14 6 8 0 12
8
Delhi
14 5 9 0 10




Rank Team Points Rating
1 India 3499 125
2 South Africa 3589 112
3 Australia 3499 106
4 New Zealand 2354 102
5 England 3511 98
6 Sri Lanka 2914 94
Rank Team Points Rating
1 England 5257 125
2 India 5492 122
3 South Africa 3842 113
4 New Zealand 4602 112
5 Australia 3327 104
6 Pakistan 3279 102
Rank Team Points Rating
1 Pakistan 2990 130
2 Australia 1894 126
3 India 3932 123
4 New Zealand 2542 116
5 England 1951 115
6 South Africa 2058 114