The odds are firmly stacked against discarded fast-bowler S Sreesanth. After being given a huge respite by the Kerala High Court recently when it ordered the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to lift the life ban it imposed on the bowler alleging engagement in spot-fixing during an Indian Premier League (IPL) match in 2013, the board is now all set to appeal against the verdict. Moreover, at 34, the age is also not on Sreesanth’s side.
However, the maverick cricketer is not bothered about all the setbacks and is ready to follow his ‘idol’ and former India teammate Ashish Nehra to realise his dream of donning the Indian jersey once again.
“Nehra is my idol because at 37 he’s doing better than when he started off. He’s like fine wine, getting better with age. I think I can be the same. I am willing to put everything behind and focus on my cricket,” he said in an interview to Wisden India.
“I wish to follow my dreams and make my family proud. I do not want to keep reliving this. I need to make new memories and this (cricket) will help me do that. I have seen too much in life. I want to be happy. Is that too much to ask?” he added.
The right-arm pacer, who along with Ajit Chandila and Ankeet Chavan were banned for life by the BCCI’s disciplinary committee in September 2013, was cleared of all charges by a Delhi trial court in 2015 due to insufficient evidence.
However, the BCCI has not lifted the ban since their decision was independent to any criminal proceeding and was based on its independent disciplinary action.
Sreesanth once again reiterated that he was being framed. The BCCI, in its disciplinary proceedings, had relied on two sets of evidence collected by police – an audio recording of a telephone conversation between Sreesanth’s close friend Jiju Janardhanan and a bookie, and a confession allegedly made by Sreesanth to police.
“They said Jiju (Janardhan) apparently said I would either keep an arm band or towel or vermilion or something like that. I used to do all that because I love Allan Donald,” he said.
“I have done that before too. I would even wear plenty of zinc oxide on my face, like Donald. Does that mean those matches were fixed too? Is it a crime to be superstitious? I believed that wearing those things would help me when I was going through a bad phase in my bowling. In fact, in the first over I asked Kumar Dharmasena (the umpire) if it was okay if I kept a towel. Surely, the stump microphones picked that up. I did that only because it made me feel like Donald.
“Why would someone fix for Rs10 lakh? If you’re accusing me, say Rs10 crore or something. Why would I jeopardise my career, my life for Rs10 lakh?,” added Sreesanth who is the second player from Kerala to play for India.
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