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India vs Australia: Indian team management forced MCA to make a rank turner in Pune?

Pune: While Australia are basking in the glory after trouncing Virat Kohli-led India by 333 runs in the opening Test in Pune, the pitch that was used for the Test has faced a lot of criticism. Although Indian pitches are spinners’ best friend, the one at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium in Pune started to turn from Day 1. So much so that, in the match, which got over in under three days, both the teams used spinners from either ends right from the start.

While Shane Warne, right before the toss, had said that the pitch looks like a Day 8 pitch, there are reports suggesting that Indian cricket team management forced Maharashtra Cricket Association, which was hosting the first Test, to change the nature of the pitch a week before the game. It was also reported that the pitch was not watered for eight days before the first take began on February 23.

After MCA curator Pandurang Salgaoncar refused to pay heed to the request of making a turner, a member of the Indian cricket team management took the matter to Daljit Singh and Dhiraj Parsana, members of the BCCI pitches committee. The duo, it is reported, did not agree with the demand.

“When the MCA refused to prepare a rank turner, the senior member of the team management took the issue to the state association curator Pandurang Salgaoncar. When he too resisted, the matter was placed before the BCCI curators (Parsana and Daljit), but even they were a tad reluctant. Then, the BCCI management (not the Committee of Administrators, the cricket board employees) came into the picture. The ground staff had been ordered to remove the grass completely. Things were hijacked from the local curators,” The Indian Express quoted a MCA member as saying.

Australian skipper Steve Smith, who plays for Rising Pune Supergiants in the Indian Premier League, had said that the pitch looked different after winning the toss."It's a very dry pitch, won't bounce. Looks different to the T20 games I've played here," Smith had said.

A day before the game, Sydney Morning Herald had quoted Smith saying:"I think it will take spin from ball one. There are a couple of divots out of the wicket as well."

“Divot” is another way to say that the pitch is under-prepared.

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