Free Press Journal

Pitch row: Wankhede curator says awaiting MCA reply to letter


Mumbai: The controversy over the batting track prepared for the fifth ODI between India and South Africa at the Wankhede Stadium, where the visito s hammered the hosts by 214 runs to win the series last month, is yet to die down. Pitch curator Sudhir Naik, who has accused Indian team Director Ravi Shastri of abusing him during the game after the Proteas ran up a record-high score of 438, said today he was awaiting a reply to his official written complaint lodged with match-hosting body, Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA).

“I had informed Dilip Vengsarkar (MCA Vice-President), Prof Ratnakar Shetty (BCCI General Manager, Game Development) and Pawar Saheb (MCA President Sharad Pawar) about Shastri’s abuse directed at me immediately and was told to put in the complaint through a letter. I have done so and am awaiting a reply,” Naik told reporters at the Wankhede Stadium.

MCA, meanwhile, has asked ex-India captain Vengsarkar to probe the matter by speaking to Naik and Shastri, both former Test cricketers and his one-time teammates in the Mumbai Ranji team. Naik, in his letter, had asked MCA to reprimand both Shastri and Indian team’s bowling coach Bharat Arun, who had allegedly fired his assistant Ramesh Mamhunkar on the same matter.

Acknowledging that MCA had no powers to reprimand Shastri or Arun, Naik said one option before him was to approach BCCI directly on the matter, but he wanted to go through proper channel. “I know I can directly approach the BCCI, but I want to place the issue first with the MCA, who had hired me to do the job,” he said.

Naik also said he had not been informed by anyone, before the conclusion of the fourth ODI at Chennai on October 22, of the type of track that was desired by the home team for the series decider on October 25. The visitors won the five-match series 3-2.