S Sreesanth has not yet given up on making a comeback to cricket.
After the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) refused to issue a no-objection certificate (NOC) to the former India pacer to allow him to play for the Scotland-based Glenrothes Cricket Club, the Kerala speedster is set to defy the life ban imposed on him by the Indian board.
Sreesanth plans to play a first division two-day league match for the Ernakulam Cricket Club on February 19.
“When there is no official letter stating my life ban then why will the umpires stop me from playing? There have been no emails, courier or anything which states that I am banned from playing cricket. Not even my state or district associations have received any letter with regards to this from the BCCI.
“All that I have received is a suspension letter when I was in Tihar jail. A suspension letter is valid only for 90 days. The BCCI has announced about my life ban only in the media. There is no official correspondence till date. I was stupid to have not played cricket for this long. It is only now I realised that what the hell I was doing,” Sreesanth told HT from Kochi on Tuesday.
A senior BCCI official said the club too could be banned if Sreesanth was allowed to play.
Sreesanth claimed his club has been supportive of his comeback plans. “They are excited to see me on the field. Although there is no ban, my lawyers are preparing proper documentation so that there is no confusion at the ground.
“If they stop me from playing, I would want a letter stating about my ban. If that’s not the case, then I will play. Let there be a controversy. They (BCCI) can’t ban my club as there is no letter to state that you can’t play Sreesanth. There is nothing to this effect,” he said.
If all goes well on February 19, Sreesanth is hoping to fly to Scotland. “If I get to play on February 19, I will be on the next flight to Scotland for Glenrothens. I only have four to five years of cricket left in me and I want to make full use of it.
“The way I have been ill-treated is probably even worse than a terrorist. Those who have been found guilty of corrupt practices have been encouraged to play again by the ICC. Whereas I am not even found guilty but I still have to go through this hell. I want my respect back which I earned through cricket,” said Sreesanth.
CAS an option too
Meanwhile, Glenrothens Cricket Club’s interim manager Eddie Gibbs is planning to approach the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS) in Switzerland to overturn Sreesanth’s ban. While the BCCI has chosen not to respond to Gibbs’ emails seeking information about the process to appeal or contact details of their lawyers, he is also awaiting a response from the ICC before approaching the CAS.