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Sreesanth can’t take his Kerala Ranji spot for granted, says state cricket official

Sreesanth last played a match for Kerala in March 2013. It was a Vijay Hazare Trophy semifinal against Assam in Visakhapatnam

cricket Updated: Aug 07, 2017 18:15 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
sreesanth,s. sreesanth,bcci
S. Sreesanth was once called by skipper MS Dhoni as the lucky charm of the Indian cricket team. Sreesanth last played a Test match for India in August 2011. (HT Photo)

Sreesanth wants to play for Kerala again but state cricket officials are not too sure. The 34-year-old former Indian cricket team pacer saw his BCCI-inflicted life ban lifted by the Kerala High Court on Monday but it may not be the end of Sreesanth’s troubles with the cricket board.

The BCCI had slapped a life ban on Sreesanth following the 2013 spot-fixing scandal. Union finance minister Arun Jaitley was part of a hig-profile BCCI panel that had banned Sreesanth for life after a clutch of Rajasthan Royals cricketers were found guilty of fixing IPL matches in return for money.

In a swift overnight operation, Sreesanth was caught by Delhi Police officers in Mumbai and charged with corruption in IPL matches. He was subsequently banned by BCCI.

Sreesanth’s return in the Kerala Ranji Trophy is subject to his fitness and form, said Kerala Cricket Association secretary Jayesh George.

“We were right behind Sreesanth from day one. We were in Delhi during those days (arrest and subsequent court hearings) when he endured a lot. Now that High Court has given a verdict, hopefully, normalcy will return in his life. We would love to see him back in Kerala shirt,” George told PTI.

But Kerala will not rush into bringing back Sreesanth. The BCCI has stood by its decision for long and it is unlikely the Kerala High Court directive will not be challenged at a higher court.

“Look, two years back, we had appealed to the BCCI requesting to lift Sreesanth’s ban after lower court in Delhi exonerated him of all spot-fixing charges. The BCCI then decided to stick to life ban. Now that Kerala High Court has given the verdict, the BCCI may think of appealing to Supreme Court. We don’t know what will be their stand,” George said.

George was not sure if Sreesanth will qualify for the Ranji side. “That I can’t tell you right now as it will be a collective decision by the association. Also we have our selectors who needs to take a call on his fitness.

“He is 34 years and has not played for last four years. Obviously, with his talent and experience, he is an asset for

Kerala Ranji team. We now have pacers like Basil Thampi (current India A player), Sandip Warrier. If Sree is around, obviously they can gain from his experience.”

First Published: Aug 07, 2017 18:11 IST