Former India fast bowler S Sreesanth is back in the news once again. The Supreme Court has set aside the life ban imposed on former Sreesanth following his involvement in the 2013 IPL spot-fixing case. On Friday, March 15 the court gave the verdict and also asked the Board for Control of Cricket in India to consider a fresh punishment for him within the next three months. However, the court, however, rejected Sreesanth's appeal that he should not be punished at all because he was acquitted in the case.
In May 2013, Sreesanth, along with his teammates Ankit Chavan and Ajit Chandila were arrested by the Delhi Police for their alleged involvement in spot-fixing. Three players were banned for life by the BCCI. In 2015, they were cleared of sport fixing charges.
Regarding the punishment, the BCCI insisted that the ban imposed was "fully sustainable in law". But Sreesanth’s lawyer Salman Khurshid argued, "Life ban given to Mohammed Azharuddin was overturned. Pakistan's Salim Malik got a life ban but it was overturned. Hansie Cronje was given life ban but he died in a plane crash when proceedings were not closed. If at all he is guilty of anything, it is for failure to disclose about fixing, etc, despite having knowledge. That will make him guilty only of the least punishable offense. There is nothing on record to warrant a lifetime ban."
Although a single judge bench of the court earlier revoked the ban and asked the BCCI to lift the same, in 2017 Kerala High Court’s division bench reimposed the life ban on Sreesanth after a petition from the BCCI. Finally today, the Supreme Court also gave the decision in favor of Sreesanth.
Sreesanth Eager To Return To Cricket
Speaking to PTI post the verdict Sreesanth explained how eager he is to get back to the field. He said, "If Leander Paes can win Grand Slams at 42, I can at least play some cricket at 36.” He added, "I don't know what life has in store for me after all these years. It's six years and I haven't played cricket, which was my life."
Sreesanth knows the final decision will be taken the BCCI. "I hope that the BCCI respects the verdict of the country's highest court and allows me to at least get back to the cricket field.”
CoA To Take The Final Call
On the other hand, the BCCI will be discussing the ban issue soon when the Committee of Administrators (CoA) meet next. "Yes, I have heard about the Supreme Court order. We will need to get a copy of the order. We will definitely take up the issue at the COA meeting," COA chief Vinod Rai told PTI.
The acting president of the BCCI, CK Khanna made it clear that the ball would be in CoA’s court. He explained, "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.”