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S. Sreesanth inspired by Ashish Nehra in journey to redeem cricket career

S. Sreesanth, whose life ban for allegedly being involved in spot-fixing was revoked by Kerala High Court, harbours dream of doing well on cricket field like the 37-year-old Ashish Nehra. Sreesanth, 34, is ready to work hard to redeem his place in Indian cricket

cricket Updated: Aug 17, 2017 22:04 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
S. Sreesanth,Indian Cricket team,Ashish Nehra
S. Sreesanth’s cricket career came to a halt after he was accused of spot-fixing in the 2013 Indian Premier League.(Hindustan Times)

S. Sreesanth, who was accused of spot-fixing, admitted he was hurt by the BCCI’s decision to appeal against the Kerala High Court’s verdict to set aside the life ban imposed on him by the Board in 2013, stating he simply wanted to play cricket and put the past behind him.

Citing the example of fast bowler Ashish Nehra, who still represents the country in the shortest format of the game, Sreesanth said: “Nehra is my idol because at 37 he’s doing better than when he started off. He’s like fine wine, getting better with age. I think I can be the same. I am willing to put everything behind and focus on my cricket.

READ | S. Sreesanth eyes cricket return after Kerala High Court lifts life ban, BCCI guarded

“I wish to follow my dreams and make my family proud. I do not want to keep reliving this. I need to make new memories and this (cricket) will help me do that. I have seen too much in life. I want to be happy. Is that too much to ask?” he added in an interview to Wisden India.

Sreesanth, Ajit Chandila and Ankeet Chavan, who played for Rajasthan Royals in IPL 2013, were arrested by Delhi Police on charges of alleged spot-fixing. Sreesanth was acquitted two years later by a Delhi court but the BCCI did not lift the ban, stating it had enough proof that the bowler wasn’t innocent.

A few days back, the Kerala High Court ruled that Sreesanth’s omission was “a denial of natural justice” and set aside the life ban.

READ | S. Sreesanth back on a cricket field after 4 years, greeted with roses

Sreesanth, who pleaded innocence from the start, has stuck to his stand that he was being framed. “They said Jiju (Janardhan) apparently said I would either keep an arm band or towel or vermilion or something like that. I used to do all that because I love Allan Donald,” he said. It was alleged that Janardhan was the person who had dealt with other bookies on Sreesanth’s behalf.

“I have done that before too. I would even wear plenty of zinc oxide on my face, like Donald. Does that mean those matches were fixed too? Is it a crime to be superstitious? I believed that wearing those things would help me when I was going through a bad phase in my bowling. In fact, in the first over I asked Kumar Dharmasena (the umpire) if it was okay if I kept a towel. Surely, the stump microphones picked that up. I did that only because it made me feel like Donald.

READ | Azharuddin urges BCCI to settle S Sreesanth’s case after court asks to lift life ban

“Why would someone fix for Rs10 lakh? If you’re accusing me, say Rs10 crore or something. Why would I jeopardise my career, my life for Rs10 lakh?”

The BCCI had also denied Sreesanth a no-objection certificate earlier this year when he wanted to represent Glenrothes Cricket Club in the Scottish League.

First Published: Aug 17, 2017 19:33 IST