Updated: February 7, 2020 2:20:22 pm
The BCCI has asked for an explanation from its neutral curator on the Patiala pitch that hosted the Ranji Trophy match between Punjab and Andhra. Ishtyaque Khan was the neutral curator at the venue from the BCCI’s Emerging Panel, while Talwinder Singh was the local curator. As per the BCCI rules, neutral curators supervise pitch preparations for the Ranji Trophy matches.
The match between Punjab and Andhra, played on February 4 and 5, finished inside two days, with Punjab winning by four wickets. Spinners from both sides accounted for 31 wickets in the game. It is learnt that BCCI general manager (cricket operations) Saba Karim has written to the head of the cricket board’s panel of curators Ashish Bhowmick, asking for a report from the neutral curator on the pitch. The BCCI does this when it feels the pitch is not conducive (to good cricket). Apart from the neutral curator, match referee Prakash Bhatt, too, will have to submit a report to the BCCI.
The Patiala District Cricket Association secretary RP Pandove informed that the neutral curator took charge of the ground on January 29. “He came here on 29th. After that our local ground staff/curator worked under his direction,” Pandove told The Indian Express. He, however, defended the pitch, saying: “I didn’t see any problem with the pitch. Rather, what I felt was that the batsmen tried to play too many shots. Fast bowlers got purchase from the surface as well. Siddarth Kaul took five wickets in the first innings.”
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With five teams qualifying for the knockouts from the Elite, Group A and B combined, six points against Andhra took Punjab to the fourth position – 24 points from seven matches – with one game remaining. “It’s a big issue. It could be seen as an abuse of the points system,” a state association office-bearer told this paper.
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