What’s the story?
After the BCCI laid a major roadblock on outcast seamer S Sreesanth’s comeback trail by refusing to issue a No Objection Certificate that would allow him to play club cricket in Scotland, the 34-year-old has massively hit out at the board and is set to defy orders and resume his playing career later this month.
Sreesanth is set to represent Ernakulam Cricket Club in a first division two-day game starting on the 19th of February.
Speaking to Hindustan Times, he said, “When there is no official letter stating my life ban then why will the umpires stop me from playing? 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. The way I have been ill-treated is probably even worse than a terrorist.”
Sreesanth’s international career was rocked when he was charged for spot-fixing during the IPL 6 in 2013. Though he was acquitted in September 2015, the BCCI have not lifted the life ban they imposed on him after the spot-fixing charges.
The heart of the matter
Sreesanth was set to play for the Glenrothes Cricket Club in Scotland in a league starting in April, but his hopes were dashed by the BCCI. The pacer still clearly feels aggrieved by the way he has been treated by the BCCI.
Despite having admitted to the spot-fixing charges initially, Sreesanth claims, till date, that he was forced to sign confession statements. His quotes claim that the entire episode has just been played out in front of the media and that the BCCI are yet to send him or any his state any official confirmation of his ban whatsoever, which would be a concern if proven true.
The BCCI will be expected to release a statement with their official stance on the matter. It all appears to be a game of chess between Sreesanth and the board right now with the former trying to apply a bit of pressure on the latter.
Having been a part of two World Cup-winning squads, the pacer still remains very popular amongst the fans and is using his popularity to make a statement in the media.
The BCCI has claimed his since day one that their verdict on levying a life ban on Sreesanth was due to a thorough internal study of the matter and However, if what Sreesanth says is true, and the BCCI are yet to offer any official communication of the ban to any party, then the pacer has a right to make a fuss about it.
This saga is surely set to play out for the next couple of months but one doesn’t expect the BCCI to change its stance. It would be remarkable if Sreesanth does go out and actually represent Ernakulam Cricket Club on the 19th February without any permission from the BCCI.