The BCCI had banned Sreesanth from all official cricketing activities in 2013 © PTI
The BCCI is set to appeal against the Kerala High Court judgement that had ordered the board to lift the life ban on fast bowler Sreesanth for his alleged involvement in the 2013 spot- fixing scandal in the IPL. Confirming the development, a BCCI official told ESPNcricinfo that the board would approach the court “very soon”.
In its judgement on Monday, the Kerala High Court had, according to media reports, observed that the BCCI’s refusal to lift the ban was a violation of natural justice. After Sreesanth and two other Rajasthan Royals bowlers – Ankeet Chavan and Ajit Chandila – were arrested for alleged fulfilling of promises made to bookmakers in May 2013, they were banned for life by the BCCI.
The court’s observations factored that in 2015 Sreesanth had been exonerated of spot-fixing charges by a Delhi trial court due to insufficient evidence under the MCOCA act, a special law passed by the Maharashtra state government to tackle organised crime syndicates and terrorism.
The BCCI, however, has consistently detached its decisions from the outcome of any legal proceedings. Following the board’s investigation in 2013, conducted by the BCCI’s then anti-corruption unit chief Ravi Sawani, the BCCI maintained that its decisions “independent to any criminal proceeding” and “based on its independent disciplinary action, shall remain unaltered.”
Consequently, Sreesanth’s request for a no-objection certificate to play league cricket for Glenrothes CC in Scotland was shot down in January. However, soon after his ban was lifted by the court, the Kerala Cricket Association, Sreesanth’s home body, wrote to the BCCI requesting the board to allow his return to active cricket in the forthcoming domestic season. Sreesanth last played official cricket during IPL 2013.
“Sreesanth had met me a day after the judgement and communicated his availability for Kerala,” KCA secretary Jayesh George told ESPNcricinfo. “So, we wrote to the board asking it to consider the matter favourably and allow him to play domestic matches this year. The BCCI hasn’t replied to the letter yet.”
For his part, Sreesanth said he was overwhelmed by the support from the cricketing community. “Since 2015, once I got the clean chit a lot of support has been coming, especially from the cricketers, first-class as well as international, but then especially from yesterday they have been bit more public and I am very happy that people are coming out in open and supporting me,” he told the Cricindex podcast. “Everybody is looking up to me to perform and get back to the squad. That’s a great sign. All the first-class cricketers especially in Kerala and some international cricketers too have messaged me and motivated me saying ‘We always had faith in you and it’s just a matter of time, hope you have not put on weight.'”
Arun Venugopal is a correspondent at ESPNcricinfo. @scarletrun
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