Pitch row: Wankhede curator Sudhir Naik waiting for 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 visitors hammered the hosts by 214 runs to win the series last month, is yet to die down.

Also Read: Wankhede curator Sudhir Naik writes to BCCI against Ravi Shastri

Sudhir Naik. Pic/Atul Kamble
Sudhir Naik. Pic/Atul Kamble

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.

Read Story: Great job, excellent pitch: Shastri told Wankhede curator sarcastically

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. "Dr P V Shetty (MCA Joint Secretary) got a phone call on the 22nd night from the team management and informed us the next day morning about the team's wishes.

But by that stage the wicket had already been prepared. It was too late in the day to make it into a slow turner," insisted the ex-Test opener. Asked about the alleged abuse hurled at him by Shastri, Naik said he was standing on the ground level and the former India all-rounder was on the balcony above in front of the team's dressing room - after SA had run up the massive total - and twice complimented him about the track, saying, "Great wicket, Sudhir".

"After I said thank you both times, he suddenly turned around and, with one hand on the door handle of the dressing room and with his back half turned towards me, abused me (in Marathi) and then fled inside. It was good that he ran inside, as otherwise I would have also retorted," he said.

Meanwhile, Joint Secretary P V Shetty informed the MCA Managing Committee, which met today, that Shastri was not available to be talked to on this issue till the end of the four-Test series between India and South Africa that commenced today at Mohali.

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