After being cleared of all charges of spot fixing by a Delhi court on Saturday, former India pacer S Sreesanth and two others, Ajit Chandila and Ankeet Chavan, found it tough to control their emotions and said they were desperate to make a comeback to the game after two years of ignominy.
Sreesanth, Mumbai left-arm spinner Chavan, and Rajasthan off-spinner Chandila were in tears when the Patiala House court dropped all charges of spot fixing against them pertaining to the 2013 edition of the Indian Premier League.
"I am feeling very happy at the moment and hope that I start training soon. I hope to get permission from the BCCI to start using the training facilities soon, so that I can get fit and get into the selection process. God has been extremely kind," a visibly drained Sreesanth told reporters outside the court.
"I am born to play cricket. I am a cricketer first. BCCI has been very supportive all through. TC Mathew Sir in Kerala had told me that you finish this and we will take it from there. The worst that can happen to a cricketer is stay behind the National Stadium and not be able to use it. I went through a lot of things but it is past now. I would love to be able to run there. I just couldn't control my tears," he said.
“We had a tough time. Let down by all, often Sree used to play cricket on our porch. We were in tears those days. Fear engulfed him after his Tihar days. But we always used to tell him that truth will prevail. We express our gratitude to all who stood with us and others who made fun of us also,” said Sreesanth's mother Savitri Devi, following the verdict.
“Enough cricket is left in him. I am sure he will bounce back soon,” said Sreesanth's father Santhakumaran Nair, adding that truth would always prevail.
Ankeet Chavan's family celebrates his acquittal. (Anshuman Poyrekar/HT Photo)
Similar were the emotions expressed by Chavan and Chandila, both of whom said that they cannot wait to return to the field.
All three had to spend time in jail during the course of investigation. Of the three, Sreesanth and Chavan are currently serving life bans imposed by the BCCI after the scandal shook the league, while Chandila's hearing is still on.
"So far I just know that I have been given a discharge and now I am looking forward to play cricket. So let's see how it goes. I am taking it step by step. It was tough for me as a cricketer. It was a tough time but I got through with support from family and friends. I am sure I will be back to cricket again," said Chavan.
(With PTI inputs)