Shantakumaran Sreesanth has been a loner most of his cricketing life. Very few have placed their faith in him. And it appears like his post-cricketing life isn't any different.
Now in judicial custody till June 4, Sreesanth on Tuesday joined a long list of celebrities locked up in Tihar. A Delhi court also sent cricketer Ajit Chandila, bookies Ashwani Aggarwal and Chandresh Patel to prison. Sreesanth and Chandila have been kept in a separate cell for security reasons.
With the Kerala government and cricket officials distancing themselves from the bowler, one would have expected his family members to provide the comfort blanket. That doesn't appear the case.
HT visited Tihar on Wednesday to learn of Sreesanth’s movements and visitors.
List of visitors
Typically, visitors are allowed twice a week — but not before taking an appointment, mostly a day in advance. Sreesanth listed just five close allies when he checked in. Surprisingly, the names of his parents were missing. Sources close to the bowler say that his parents have distanced themselves. In fact, they are not even in the Capital. The following are the five people who are permitted to visit him:
Jayan - friend
Dipu Santhan - brother
Akhil Dev - friend
Rajeev Pillai - friend (Malayalam actor)
Madhu Balakrishnan - brother-in-law
No visits yet
Visiting hours are between 8.30 am and 11.30 am. That too, two days a week. The days are usually determined by the system, not by the prisoner. As of noon on Wednesday, none of his friends or relatives had made an effort to visit him.
“Nobody has visited him yet. In fact, we haven’t got any appointments either. We have been very generous in his case. We are allowing visitors even without appointments. But there hasn’t been a single visitor yet. Now, they will just have to wait until Thursday,” said a senior constable.
“Sreesanth woke up at 6 am on Wednesday and went out for a walk. He came back to his cell and had breakfast. He seemed to be in a good mood and didn’t hesitate to talk to the jailors on day-to-day stuff. He genuinely feels that there is no need to worry for him,” said an insider.
He did seem in high spirits on Tuesday, having waved the ‘V’ sign to a television channel while flashing his teeth.
Sreesanth’s love for music is no secret. He even launched a music band, S36, a few years ago that came to a grinding halt. During cricket tours too, Sreesanth was always plugged in. During his days in police custody (a little over 10 days), he would bide his time with his beloved iPod. However, that’s not been possible in the confines of Tihar.
“The rules are the same for one and all. You can carry books, and a mobile phone that must be handed over to the jailor for emergency calls only. You cannot carry any other gadgets or electronic stuff. Sreesanth was unhappy when disallowed an iPod,” said an insider.
No recreation, yet
Indian music band Menwhopause taught some inmates a song of theirs. Even spiritual leader Sri Sri Ravi Shankar paid a visit once.
“The Tihar jail factory provides an opportunity of reformation and rehabilitation by channelising the inmates’ energy towards a positive direction,” the official website reads. In fact, many of the products are sold outside too. But it’s too early for Sreesanth to channelise his energy elsewhere, feels Tihar DGP Vimla Mehra.
“We have some amazing things for the prison inmates to do. But they are the ones who have been here for a long time. It is too early for Sreesanth to get involved. Sure, if he does stay for a while, he too can get involved in some of the activities,” she said.