The Kerala Cricket Association (KCA), predictably caught in a dilemma, chose to maintain a stoic silence over Friday’s decision of the Disciplinary Committee of the Board of Control for Cricket in India to clamp a life ban on pace bowler S. Sreesanth on charges of spot fixing.

Repeated attempts to contact the KCA top brass went in vain while all that the association’s official spokesman would say was, “no comments.” Apparently, the KCA did not want to seen in poor light criticising its parent body.

However, the proposed life ban, which is likely to be ratified on September 29, did prove to be shocker to some of the country’s sporting greats such as I.M. Vijayan and P.T. Usha.

“How did they ban him before the courts pronounced him guilty. Shouldn’t they have waited for the verdict,” said Vijayan, one of the country’s greatest footballers. “Of course, fixing is bad in any sport but Sreesanth has already been in jail, so they should have waited for the court’s verdict before such a decision is taken. And Sreesanth has played in the Indian team.

“A life ban is such a big thing, what does he have in cricket now.”

Blames association

Vijayan felt that a strong players’ union would not have allowed association officials to have a free run like they have now.

“Powerful people are walking around freely, but it is really the players who suffer the most. It also means the gag on players will hit them hard when they land in trouble, they will be lonely, they will not have anyone to support them,” said Vijayan.

“So, they should have a strong players’ association to help them, to speak for them.”

Players are powerless and almost always helpless when they land in trouble, felt P.T. Usha. “Players don’t get a chance to have their say. If they say something, they will either not be in the team or they will be out for a 100 years. That is why many don’t say anything,” said Usha, one of India’s greatest athletes.

‘Players should come together’

“When the association or its members do something wrong, nobody questions them, there is nobody to catch them. But when it comes to players, they are sort of powerless.” Players should all come together, especially when a fellow athlete is in trouble, said Usha.

“Shouldn’t the same rules apply for players, association officials and IPL team heads? And isn’t a federation supposed to protect its players? By punishing Sreesanth with a life ban even before the court finds him guilty, isn’t the federation sending a wrong message?”

“However, this will send a message to all players that strict action would be taken against those involved in spot fixing or match fixing,” said S. Robinson, one of India’s best basketball players and a former Indian captain. “May be, they wanted to send such a message, may be they wanted to start somewhere and it was Sreesanth who was caught and became the sort of starting point.

“But the same rule should be shown to the officials and team owners too. The law should apply to everybody,” he said.

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