Santhakumaran Sreesanth had faced much flak for bowling a beamer to England batsman Kevin Pietersen during a test match at Trent Bridge in 2007.
On Friday, the Indian pacer was left to counter a ‘beamer’ from the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI). The national cricket governing body’s disciplinary committee handed the pacer a life ban for his alleged involvement in the Indian Premier League spot-fixing scam based on anti-corruption chief Ravi Sawani’s report on the scam
The Kerala speedster’s friends were shocked as television channels flashed the news.
The ban left Sreesanth’s mother, Savitri Devi, virtually speechless. She wondered how the BCCI reached such a decision just minutes after hearing her son.
Ms. Savitri Devi said the decision was a big setback for Sreesanth. “The game will not let him down. Truth is god and it will be revealed no matter what,” she said.
Sreesanth had talked to her over phone immediately after the news about the ban emerged and asked her not to panic. Sreesanth who was out of town for the BCCI hearing was not available for comment.
Senior Supreme Court lawyer and Sreesanth’s counsel Rebecca John said the BCCI decision was totally unfair. “Sreesanth was a soft target while they have let-off big fishes scot free without any explanation. We will definitely challenge this in the court,” she said.
Sebastian Paul, a media observer and Supreme Court lawyer, said the decision was premature at a time when the court was seized of the issue.
He reminded that the court itself has found missing links in the police inquiry against Sreesanth. “So to hand him a life ban on the very same charges is an affront to the judicial process and amounts to denial of natural justice. The decision will be overturned in all probability if Sreesanth chooses to approach the court,” he said.
Writer and sports enthusiast K.L. Mohana Varma urged Sreesanth to volunteer for a lie detector test by an independent authority to prove his innocence. In the circumstance, the public and media would back him. He said the life ban had been reduced to lesser punishments in at least half the cases where it was invoked.
Jayan Thekkedath, the cricketer’s friend, was furious at the life ban, which he alleged, was determined even before the disciplinary committee heard the player.