Sreesanth's lifetime ban has been lifted and the Supreme Court asks BCCI disciplinary committee to review the quantum of punishment. (Image credit: Twitter)
In a big relief to Sreesanth, the Supreme Court has lifted the lifetime ban imposed on the Kerala pacer by the BCCI and has urged the disciplinary committee of the Indian cricket board to review the quantum of punishment that was imposed in the wake of the 2013 spot-fixing scandal which erupted in the Indian Premier League. A bench of the Supreme Court, headed by Justice Ashok Bhushan, asked the BCCI to decide afresh on the point of quantum of punishment given to Sreesanth. The former Kerala cricketer will get opportunity to be heard by BCCI’s disciplinary committee on quantum of punishment. Sreesanth, who had a high-volt career going, landed in the most muddled situation when the IPL spot-fixing scandal hit him hard along with Ajit Chandila and Ankeet Chavan and a lifetime ban on the players was imposed by the BCCI. Once considered as one of the finest pace bowlers in the Indian cricket team, Sreesanth along with 36 others were accused in the spot-fixing case. All other players were let off by a Patiala House Court judgment in July 2015. Despite this, BCCI refused to lift the ban on Sreesanth that left him scarred deeply.
Speaking about the verdict, Committee of Administrators head Vinod Rai said the issue will be taken up in the next meeting. “Yes, I have heard about the Supreme Court order. We will need to get the copy of the order. We will definitely take up the issue at the COA meeting,” rai told PTI. The CoA is scheduled to meet on March 18 to discuss the anti-doping policy of the Board with the International Cricket Council officials. The issue of Sreesanth’s ban might come up among the CoA on that day.
BCCI acting president CK Khanna made it clear that it will be completely CoA’s call as the onus is on it to implement the Supreme Court order."This is a Supreme Court order and obviously a call needs to be taken. I am confident that the issue will come up for serious deliberation at the next COA meeting. As far as Sreesanth being brought back to mainstream cricket, I have no comment to make," Khanna said. Former BCCI vice-president and Kerala CA senior official TC Matthew, someone who has seen Sreesanth as a youngster, "welcomed the verdict".
"I am very happy for Sreesanth. He has lost six most precious years of his life. I don’t think even if the ban is lifted he can play first-class cricket. But obviously if the BCCI lifts his ban after the SC verdict, he can have an alternate career in cricket, whatever that is. He can be a coach, mentor, may be take up professional umpiring, play club cricket in England," Matthew said.
In an episode of Bigg Boss in 2018, while being acquitted in 2015, Sreesanth said that the period was a haunting experience for him. This incident took him by shock and the cricketer found himself on the verge of depression. Falling from the great heights he achieved, the cricketer watched his career crumble to bits. This scarred the former cricketer and made him consider committing suicide at that time.
Sreesanth and two other Rajasthan Royals players were banned for life over alleged involvement in betting and spot-fixing following a 2013 scandal in the Indian Premier League. Sreesanth, Ankit Chavan and Ajit Chandila were arrested along with scores of bookies as part of a probe into allegations that players had under-performed in return for cash.
Criminal charges were later dropped, but the players remained banned for breaching the BCCI’s code of conduct. The Kerala High Court in 2017 acquitted Sreesanth for lack of proof and the court ruling, Sreesanth had hoped to get his career back on track and represent India at the next World Cup in 2019.But the BCCI official said: “We don’t agree with the order. It definitely needs to be challenged and within a week the appeal would be filed in the Kerala High Court.