Former India pacer S Sreesanth and two other cricketers, who were discharged of spot-fixing charges by a Delhi Court, found it tough to control their emotions and said they were desperate to make a comeback after two years of ignominy.
Sreesanth, Mumbai left-arm spinner Ankeet Chavan and Rajasthan off-spinner Ajit Chandila were literally in tears when the Patiala House Court dropped all charges of spot-fixing against them pertaining to the 2013 IPL spot-fixing scandal.
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“I am feeling very happy at the moment and hope that I start training soon. I hope to get permission from the BCCI to start using the training facilities soon, so that I can get fit and get into the selection process. God has been extremely kind,” a visibly drained Sreesanth told reporters outside the court.
“I am born to play cricket. I am a cricketer first. BCCI has been very supportive all through. TC Mathew Sir in Kerala had told me that you finish this and we will take it from there. The worst that can happen to a cricketer is stay behind the National Stadium and not be able to use it.
I went through a lot of things but it is past now. I would love to be able to run there. I just couldn’t control my tears,” he said. Similar were the emotions expressed by Chavan and Chandila, both of whom said that they cannot wait to return to the field.
All three had to spend time in jail during the course of investigation. Of the three, Sreesanth and Chavan are currently serving life bans imposed by the BCCI after the scandal shook the league, while Chandila’s hearing is still on.
“So far I just know that I have been given a discharge and now I am looking forward to play cricket. So let’s see how it goes. I am taking it step by step. It was tough for me as a cricketer. It was a tough time but I got through with support from family and friends. I am sure I will be back to cricket again,” said Chavan.
Chandila said he was also eager to come back as soon as possible. “I believed in the judiciary and believed in my God. Now I trust BCCI that they will give me a chance to play again. I will discuss with my lawyer, who was like God to me, that what will be my next step. It was the worst time of my life but I had faith in judiciary.
My family was with me. They told me that things will fall into place. After two years, now I will be able to sleep peacefully,” he said. The Special Cell of Delhi Police had named 42 accused in the case in its charge sheet out of whom six are absconding.
The investigation carried out by police in the case had earlier come under scanner of the court which had questioned its theory of “match fixing”, saying there was prima facie no evidence showing that matches were fixed by the accused.
During the arguments on framing of charges in the case, the police had referred to telephonic conversations among the accused to buttress their claim that they were involved in match fixing and betting.
It had also alleged that call detail records clearly reflect the linkage of accused persons who were part of a crime syndicate to generate money. The police had filed a 6,000-page charge sheet against various accused in the case. It had also filed supplementary charge sheet later on.
The court had granted bail to Sreesanth, Chavan and various other accused for lack of evidence against them under the provisions of stringent Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA). Other accused, including Chandila, were also granted bail later on by the court.
Savithri Devi, Sreesanth’s mother, was relieved at the verdict. “I really thank God for this, can’t explain what he suffered,” Savithri Devi said. Chavan’s father Anil, too, was delighted. “I never doubted my son, we are very happy today (Saturday),” Anil Chavan said.
Wanted to clear myself before daughter googles name: Sreesanth
“I want my daughter to know me as a cricketer and not a terrorist when she googles my name,” said S Sreesanth after being exonerated of spot-fixing charges by a Delhi Court on Saturday.
“My daughter is three months old. When she grows old and googles my name, I want her to know me as a cricketer and not a terrorist. When I saw my photograph being flashed alongside Dawood Ibrahim, I was like shocked. I wondered what have I done to myself to deserve this,” an emotional Sreesanth said as his two-year ordeal ended.
Slapped with charges including that of organised crime, India’s Test discard Sreesanth and two other cricketers Ajit Chandila and Ankeet Chavan, were on Saturday discharged in the sensational 2013 IPL-6 spot-fixing case by a court here which held that police has failed to make out a case against them.
Sreesanth said, “My father had two heart attacks. He had an open-heart surgery. Obviously, it is connected to the stress that a father suffers when his son is sent to Tihar jail,” said the member of the 2007 World T20 and 2011 World Cup winning squad.
BCCI has made it clear that their disciplinary committee verdict will remain unaltered, but Sreesanth made it clear that he is in no mood for a fight against the parent body.
“I became Sreesanth because of BCCI and I will not go against them. Obviously, I believe that they will see my truth. Right now, I just feel that I would be happy if I am allowed to play even a club match. I feel I can bowl those outswingers again,” he said.
While he did not want to divulge as to which cricketers had kept in touch with him, Sreesanth did say that Sachin Tendulkar following his twitter handle made him believe in his innocence.
“Sachin paaji still follows me on twitter. May be it’s a very small thing for him but a big thing for me. It made me feel proud. Also Viru bhai had kept in touch and always had encouraging words.”
Sreesanth also spoke about his friend Jiju Janardhan, a co-accused in the case, who has also been discharged.
“Everyone tainted him calling him a bookie. How many people know that Jiju was selected for MRF Pace Foundation?”
“I am born to play cricket. I am a cricketer first. BCCI has been very supportive. TC Mathew sir in Kerala had told me that you finish this and we will take it from there.
“The worst that can happen to a cricketer is stay behind the National Stadium (Kochi) and not be able to use it. Even an Under-14 kid who respects you goes to the stadium and I was not allowed. I just couldn’t control my tears. I went through a lot of things but that’s past… I would love to go tomorrow and run there,” he said.