Maharashtra Cricket Association president Abhay Apte has promised India Today that strict action will be taken against anyone found guilty of tampering with the Pune pitch ahead of the second ODI between India and New Zealand which will be played in a few hours time.MCA president Abhay Apte spoke to India Today right after the sting operation was conducted on curator Pandurang Salgaonkar in which he agreed to make the wicket according to their demands”We will look into the matter. Rest assured, if anyone found guilty, strict action will be taken,” Apte said while on his way to the stadium.However, after the story picked up, further inquiry was done and Apte confirmed that he was suspended.”Pandurang Salgaoncar has been put under suspension with immediate effect and all his work has been withdrawn, including his basic membership of the MCA,” Apte said.India Today reporters disguised as bookies unearthed a massive scandal this morning in which they caught the MCA pitch curator allowing people to tamper with the pitch on the eve of the second ODI.The reporters asked Salgaonkar that two players want bounce on the pitch and iff it can be done to which Salgaonkar replied, “it will be done”.Salgaonkar also said that it is going to be a 337-340 wicket either way. He also assured on camera that a score as big as 337 will be chaseable.Salgaonkar even allowed our reporters to inspect the pitch in person, clearly violating the laws as set by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and the International Cricket Council (ICC).advertisementRemember the pitch in question here is the same one which was rated ‘poor’ by the ICC after the India-Australia first Test match which was played in February this year.Australia had thrashed India by 333 runs on a rank-turner after the hosts were bowled out for 105 and 107 in both innings and the match finished within three days.India are trailing 0-1 in the three-match series after losing the first match by 6 wickets at the Wankhede stadium in Mumbai.
They were treated to lively performances by the ASHE Performing Arts Company and Orisha Sound. The women, who made history in October this year by qualifying for the FIFA Women’s World Cup finals, entered the ballroom to much fanfare and applause from the huge audience that turned out to celebrate their achievement with them. Jamaica’s senior national women’s football team, the Reggae Girlz, was feted in fine style by Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, during a reception he hosted in the team’s honour at The Jamaica Pegasus Hotel on Monday (December 17). Story Highlights Jamaica’s senior national women’s football team, the Reggae Girlz, was feted in fine style by Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, during a reception he hosted in the team’s honour at The Jamaica Pegasus Hotel on Monday (December 17).The women, who made history in October this year by qualifying for the FIFA Women’s World Cup finals, entered the ballroom to much fanfare and applause from the huge audience that turned out to celebrate their achievement with them.They were treated to lively performances by the ASHE Performing Arts Company and Orisha Sound.The evening was topped off by the high-energy performance of popular dancehall entertainer, Ding Dong, who incited the Girlz to get up and dance.Prime Minister Holness, with the team’s image displayed on three large screens on the stage behind him, spoke with admiration as he thanked them for bringing pride to the nation.Mr. Holness said he especially admired the team spirit among the women, who all get along as sisters.“That is the first step towards victory – when you can work together in unity, as one cohesive group,” he said.Reliving the moments leading up to the Girlz making history, the Prime Minister recalled that when the Jamaican team was down two goals, “that would be enough to send home any team of people made of lesser stuff,” but the Girlz persevered.“What gave us the edge is that energy, that passion, and above all else, that discipline to stay together, train, work hard, and do what is necessary on the field to win,” he said.He reminded that the country’s size should be seen as an advantage because Jamaica has always performed “way above its weight class”.The Prime Minister expressed confidence that the football team could win the World Cup competition, which takes place in France next year.Mr. Holness also acknowledged the “great work” of Cedella Marley and the Bob Marley Foundation in being the critical sponsor of the Reggae Girlz.“That kind of philanthropic assistance should always be acknowledged, and I encourage other Jamaicans of means to come on board and join this effort,” he said, noting that he would be holding discussions with head coach of the Reggae Girlz, Hue Menzies; and President of the Jamaica Football Federation, Michael Ricketts, regarding his own personal contribution.In the meantime, Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Hon. Olivia Grange, said the Reggae Girlz’ qualification to the FIFA Women’s World Cup is a major achievement – not just for them but for women across the country.“Because of the Reggae Girlz, young women are confident to dream – dream big dreams – and know that dreams do come true. This achievement provides us with an opportunity to change the game for women and girls everywhere – not only in sports but in every area of life,” she said.She noted that this is the high point of the four-day-long celebrations for the Girlz, which also saw them being presented with the Keys to Montego Bay, Spanish Town and Kingston during civic ceremonies. They are to be presented with the keys to St. Ann’s Bay this evening.A praise, worship and thanksgiving concert was also held for the Girlz at Emancipation Park on December 16. They also participated in a motorcade beginning at G.C. Foster College in St. Catherine and ending at the Tony Spaulding Complex in St Andrew.“We want to acknowledge and pay maximum respect to these high achievers and to tell their stories in the hope that they will help to make a difference, just by their presence, just by being yourselves and just by achieving excellence,” Miss Grange said.Jamaica defeated Panama in the recent CONCACAF Women’s Championship to become the first Caribbean country to qualify for the FIFA Women’s World Cup.
RIDE Foundation (Robyn & Italo Dance Events), formed by Pro-Am ballroom dance partners, Robyn Shreiber and Italo Elgueta, has announced that its inaugural gala, DANCE FOR AFRICA, will benefit the African Wildlife Foundation (AWF).RIDE was established in 2016 to create one-of-a-kind dance events for difference-making charities, encompassing humane and ecological causes and featuring the talents of compassionate stars of the dance world. The inaugural gala will be held at 6PM, July 23 at L.A.’s Boulevard3 with a program featuring top dance, vocal and artistic performances.Headliners will include Dancing with the Stars’ Karina Smirnoff, indie music duo Alexander Jean Feat. Mark Ballas and BC Jean, Step Up’s Briana Evigan, artist Brian Olsen and vocalist Trenyce Cobbins. Shreiber and Elgueta, renowned in the world of ballroom dance and competition, formed the RIDE Foundation (Robyn & Italo Dance Events) to “create events in which dancers can use their passionate art to impact and support the wonderful charities addressing the world’s needs.”“We are excited to launch our non-profit organization with a gala benefitting African Wildlife Foundation, a non-profit so close to our hearts,” say Robyn and Italo in a joint statement. “Our goal in forming RIDE was to combine our love for ballroom dance with our passion for making the world a better place. We are both extremely impressed with and strongly support the work of AWF, and are honored to make the organization the beneficiary of our inaugural gala,” they add.“We are thrilled that RIDE chose AWF for their inaugural event,” says Craig Sholley, AWF’s Senior Vice President. “AWF’s mission is to ensure that wildlife and wild lands thrive in a modern Africa. As a result of a recent AWF safari experience, Robyn Shreiber’s passion for Africa and AWF’s work has blossomed. We are delighted that Dance for Africa will bring a combination of wonderful exposure to our cause and critical financial support for our important conservation efforts.”The inaugural event will feature a spectacular African-inspired live ballroom dance show produced by Italo, with Dancing with the Stars’ superstar Karina Smirnoff, a Season 13 Mirror Ball Champion, debuting a new solo performance she choreographed in honor of “Dance for Africa.” The Ukrainian beauty will also perform a passionate trio number with Professional World Finalist Justinas Duknauskas and Top Amateur Austin Joson. Karina, a five-time U.S. National Champion, is a strong advocate for environmental and wildlife causes.Indie Duo Alexander Jean feat. Mark Ballas and BC Jean, and Trenyce Cobbins are the event’s special musical performers. Alexander Jean’s debut EP titled “Head High,” released in 2016, debuted at #1 on iTunes’ Singer/Songwriter chart, and their power-pop ballad and debut single “Roses and Violets,” also hit #1 on the iTunes singer/songwriter chart and #6 on the iTunes overall chart. The duo’s next album is scheduled for release this summer.Vocalist, Actress and Dancer Trenyce Cobbins, will perform three songs written by an African artist. Cobbins, an “American Idol” Top 5 finalist, has become a darling of the theater world, headlining top Broadway musicals and plays, including “Dreamgirls,” and “The Vagina Monologues.”Brian Olsen, whose Art in Action has been making waves around the world for his “rock n’ roll” style of painting on canvas, an explosive and colorful show choreographed to music with audience participation, will open the evening by painting three art pieces in honor of the inaugural gala.Briana Evigan, an AWF Ambassador, will serve as the gala’s emcee. Briana made her major feature debut as the star of the box office hit Step Up 2: The Streets in 2008 and reprised her role in the 2014 installment of the franchise, Step Up: All In.The Africa-themed gala event will feature cuisine, cocktails and décor native to the exotic continent. The evening will also include two raffle winners to an African Safari in Tanzania, as well as a silent auction with one-of-a-kind items.For more info and tickets, click here.