Sreesanth gets candid—hopeful of a return to professional cricket

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Sreesanth S wields a tone that is highly germane of a cricketer who is slated for a ‘comeback’, even though the BCCI has banned him from playing cricket in India over the 2013 IPL spot-fixing allegations, during an interview with Amit Kohli and Dan Rhodes in a podcast organized by Cricindex.

Despite his acquittal from the case by a court in Delhi, the BCCI ban in effect has prevented him from playing cricket elsewhere in the world. The Indian fast bowler, who currently is trying his luck in Bollywood, still holds Team India in high regard and hopes for the best at the World T20. However, in the podcast he displays his fervent wish to return to professional cricket—a wish that remains doused by the BCCI ban. 

“For some reason they (BCCI) have been making me wait. I will wait patiently and that is the only thing I can do now,” said Sreesanth. “I am 33 now and, I don’t know . . . as a fast bowler, may be I will have six years in hand if I stay really fit,” he added.

After the BCCI ratified the domestic ban on him, he alleged that the BCCI influenced the international ICC board members (if not officially) to ban him from playing cricket their countries. The only cricket he can now associate with is Celebrity Cricket League (CCL).

“I don’t know what it is. If I am banned for life why can’t I play for some other country, if you don’t like me let me play for some other country,” said Sreesanth. 

Sreesanth is still hopeful that the BCCI will lift the ban soon. He seems highly optimistic and has disregarded all the difficult days since the spot-fixing case surfaced in 2013. 

“It was a tough phase in life. All my nieces and nephews were not able to go to school for couple of months. Till the case got over they got teased, big time. I could not go out for some reason, but I faced the world. Music got me landed in Bollywood. But that’s not where my heart is and my heart is with cricket. I missed a lot,” he said.

Sreesanth explained how the ban had stopped visiting the local cricket clubs he owns.

“I own seven clubs, but I am not entitled to enter the grounds because they are under Kerala Cricket Association (KCA) and KCA is under BCCI. I am sorry . . . I am slightly digressing from the topics because I have never really spoken about these,” said an emotional Sreesanth.

Sreesanth also had a message for the head of BCCI’s anti-corruption unit Neeraj Kumar who thinks that his ban should be held indefinitely.

“Get a life! I am sorry I am not being rude, but this is what I think I would say. Everybody knew what he was doing just before his retirement, except in my case. My case made him a superhero of India match fixing and all that. He even related me with Dawood. The FIR report had Sreesanth and Dawood in its opening page. They even accused me of having a conversation with Dawood. It was pretty strange. And all I can say to that mister whoever, I don’t want to even take his name, I have forgiven him for what he has done but I don’t want to take his name. All I can tell him is have a great life. God bless you!”

He rubbished claims of having confessed to his involvement in the spot-fixing scandal while in custody of the Delhi police. He recalls that he was treated as though he was a terrorist and the first seven days of the detention were worse than a nightmare.

When asked whether he would approach the BCCI to lift the ban, he responded that he is happy to keep a ‘low profile’ and would not like to make much noise.

One may remember Sreesanth’s outburst in the form of a jig after he hit Andre Neil (who had sledged just minutes before) for a six. When asked about the incident, Sreesanth said that he wanted physically harm Andre but got carried away by the music! 

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