Sreesanth’s mother believes that he was done in by a very close friend. “We are all shocked, we can’t believe it,” said Savithri Devi after the Indian fast bowler’s arrest in the IPL spot-fixing scandal on Thursday. “Sree was never a boy after money, but he trusted his friends a lot.”

She said Sreesanth’s friend, former Kerala cricketer Jiju Janardanan who too the Delhi Police have arrested in the scandal, had a lot of freedom with the cricketer. “He would use his shoes, stay with him in the same room and use all his things,” said Savithri Devi. “Sree never used to lock his things. His friend even knows his credit card’s password. This friend could misuse all these things. He is not related to us. Jiju Janardanan is nothing to us, he is just Sree’s friend.”

According to reports, police were pursuing a Dubai link. “Jiju has a lot of friends in Dubai and Sree may not know all of them,” Mrs. Devi said. “And when Sree went to Dubai, Jiju may have used Sreesanth’s phone to make calls instead of using his own phone. He may have used Sree’s laptop… his friends had so much freedom with him.”

Retracts statement

In his initial reaction, Sreesanth’s father Shanthakumaran Nair had said Indian captain M.S. Dhoni and Harbhajan Singh could have been the reason behind his son’s new problem. But Savithri Devi explained that her husband’s was an emotional reaction. “There is nothing like that. In fact, when he went to Mumbai the other day, Sree sent a photo with Harbhajan to me. There is no animosity between them.”

Mr. Nair had told a local TV channel earlier that Dhoni and Harbhajan hatched the conspiracy to get his son arrested, following Sreesanth’s recent tweet which raked up the five-year-old ‘slap-gate’ scandal involving Harbhajan. In the tweet, Sreesanth had accused Harbhajan of backstabbing him. Mr. Nair said he suspected a larger design to scuttle Sreesanth’s possible selection to the Indian squad for the South African tour.

As the statement snowballed into a major controversy, Sreesanth’s family retracted it. Mr. Nair apologised in front of the media. He said it was an emotional outburst.

Friends shocked

Staff Reporter writes:

Bipin could not believe his eyes when he first saw the name flashed on news channels on Thursday morning. Having known Sreesanth as a boy and then as a team-mate at the club level, Bipin had no doubt that his friend had been trapped. “He will never betray the game he loved so much for a few extra bucks.”

D.P. Singh who has played with Sreesanth since the age of six was emphatic that the latter would never indulge in something as sinister as betting.

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