Who is Pandurang Salgaonkar ??
The one day cricket match between India and New zealand at Pune was almost likely to cancelled after a sting operation by a TV channel and catching on camera a curator of pitch talking to a stranger about conditions of wicket and allegedly getting involved in pitch fixing.
The man was non other than ex Indian fast bowler who could have been as lethal and terror as famous pacers Thompson or Holding with some luck .
A Sportsnasha exclusive
Pandurang Salgaonkar ‘Pandu ‘ as he is famously known in cricketing circles of Maharashtra is ‘arguably’ the fastest bowler India has ever produced.
“I have faced many fast bowlers of India and Pandu seemed to be fastest of all , I guess in the last sixty years” former Test Player and Ex Maharashtra captain Yajurvindra Singh had said in informal discussion with sportsnasha recently.
Salgaonkar who is a curator of Pune Pitch has seen lots of ups and downs in his illustrious cricketing career.
He was almost selected for Indian team to England in 1974 but was dropped due to some strange policy decision. Before this series, he had an excellent tour of Srilanka. in those days India used to play played 4 day unofficial Tests with Srilanka.
Pandurang used to destroy opponents with genuine pace in Ranji Trophy matches for Maharashtra . He though was not in Indian team to England was sent for training in England and used to bowl in nets to Indian batsmen , really had genuine pace to make batsman hurry the shots.
Pandurang lost his rhythm as his ‘Malinga style ‘ action was changed in a coaching school in England and after that never came back to his original form.
He had even injured the then appointed substitute captain of India great Sunil Gavaskar in the nets when strong West Indies had toured India. Sunny missed three tests in that series due to the finger injury.
Pandurang had many ups and downs in his life and was in extreme financial trouble at one stage. His fortunes changed again after he took over as curator and was doing well.
Ironically the incidence today has turned the circle again against him. Sunny might have pardoned him for missing the cruical tests, but Pandu with his unpardonable ‘erratic bouncer’ today has injured his own image, would now be difficult to restore. Even time wont be a solution perhaps.