A despondent S Sreesanth has found solace in the unlikely company of former Haryana minister Gopal Kanda,the fast bowlers cellmate in ward 9 of Jail No. 1 in Tihar.
After being charged with the stringent Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) last week,Sresesanth grew increasingly frustrated. His friends camping in Delhi feared for his well-being because of his volatile nature. Yet when they met him on Thursday and Friday,it was a relatively calm and collected Sreesanth who spoke to them via the speaker across a glass partition in the visiting room.
Kanda has had a positive influence on Sree. When Sree was upset,Kanda told him that he had been lodged in Tihar for much longer and was unlikely to be released soon. He also advised Sree not to get frustrated and go about his daily routine without obsessing about when he would be released, H Hamsa (Shibu), a friend who called on Sreesanth last week,said.
Kanda has been charged with rape and abetment of suicide of Geetika Sharma.
When you are down and out and alone in a jail,you have to turn to someone for solace and Kanda being his cellmate has helped Sree stay sane in spite of all the turmoil, Hamsa added.
Text messages and calls to Sreesanths friends from two India Test players,a batsman and an all-rounder,who have been regularly inquiring about the fast bowlers condition in Tihar,too,have helped.
Support has also come from the family of the Bhopal-based girl Sreesanth is planning to get married to. The families had met and finalised a September engagement. We were planning to have an engagement in September and the wedding after Indias tour of South Africa,which Sreesanth was hoping to be part of. The girl has stood by Sreesanths side even after the spot-fixing scandal broke. Sreesanth is aware of her support, a family member said.
Her father has been following the Saket court proceedings closely. In fact,he brought ladoos from Gwalior to distribute hoping that Sreesanth would get bailbefore MCOCA was slapped against him.
Sreesanth has also been speaking to his family back home in the time allotted for phone calls. His parents are really shattered but they remain in Kerala because they dont want to add to the trauma, Jayan Thekkedath,a close friend and a member of Sreesanths Ernakulam Cricket Club,said.
Sreesanth has been able to take his mind off the trial by playing badminton,using the gymnasium and watching television for news about the trial and Champions Trophy scores. As he is lodged in one of the ‘special cells he is more at ease because he only has to interact with a limited number of inmates,which gives him a sense of security,his friends said.