| Sreesanth, during his last India appearance, in August 2011. (Getty Images) |
New Delhi: Sreesanth, a member of India’s 2007 ICC World T20 and 2011 World Cup (50-over) winning teams, would not be seen in action on the cricket field any more.
On Friday, the disciplinary committee of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) slapped life bans on Rajasthan Royals’ Sreesanth and left-arm spinner Ankeet Chavan for their involvement in the IPL-VI spot-fixing scandal.
Amit Singh, the Gujarat cricketer-turned-bookie, got a five-year ban, while Saurashtra and Royals seamer Siddharth Trivedi was suspended for a year for not reporting an approach among other things.
Twenty one-year-old Harmeet Singh, who was part of India’s Under-19 World Cup winning team in 2012 and had a similar charge against him as Trivedi, has been cleared of wrongdoing due to lack of evidence against him. He has been let-off with a warning.
The meeting was held at a five-star hotel in the capital for more than four hours. The players —Sreesanth, Chavan, Trivedi, Amit and Harmeet — were allowed to present their side of the story.
The high-powered committee meeting was chaired by BCCI president N. Srinivasan, who said he was within his rights to preside over it. Senior vice-presidents Arun Jaitley and Niranjan Shah were the other members of the committee.
“Mr Ankeet Chavan is banned for life from playing any representative cricket, or in any way being associated with the activities of the BCCI or its affiliates,” a statement from BCCI secretary Sanjay Patel said.
“Mr Sreesanth is banned for life from playing any representative cricket, or in any way being associated with the activities of the BCCI or its affiliates.”
The decision of the committee, Jaitley said later, was binding and there was no need to be ratified by the general body of the BCCI. “The evidence was different against each of the accused. The decision of the disciplinary committee is binding. Since the decision is about the players, it need not be ratified at the annual general meeting or at any other forum of the Board,” he said.
Srinivasan was not expected to attend the meeting in the light of the affidavit he had filed in the Bombay High Court earlier saying he would not actively take part in the working of the BCCI until the allegations levelled against him during the IPL were finally resolved.
“Yes, I chaired the meeting,” said Srinivasan. “As the Board president and chairman of the disciplinary committee, I was within my rights. What is important is that we could take strict action against the erring players.”
Srinivasan presiding over Friday’s meeting means that he is running the show at the BCCI.
Ravi Sawani’s report, sources said, had found the players guilty of “match-fixing” and “seeking or offering a bribe as a reward for match-fixing”.
There has been no ruling as yet on off-spinner Ajit Chandila, the third Royals player who was arrested in May, since he is yet to be questioned by Sawani.
Barring a few days when Chandila was out on bail due to a death in the family, he has been in police or judicial custody since his arrest on May 16, meaning Sawani haven’t been able to speak to him. However, he was granted bail on September 9, so his case should come up soon.
Sreesanth and Chavan have been out on bail since June 11.
Sawani has recommended bans ranging from five years to lifetime for the players.
“The disciplinary committee may consider my report and impose such sanctions as considered appropriate to send out a strong signal indicating the zero tolerance policy of the BCCI to any corruption in the sport that is so dear to millions of Indians and fans abroad,” Sawani has said in the report.
“Obviously, the anti-corruption education given to the players had no impact on the conduct. Therefore, the players deserve no leniency whatsoever,” he asserted.
Sreesanth, Chavan and Chandila were arrested by Delhi Police on May 16 in Mumbai, for the alleged fulfilling of promises made to bookmakers, along with 11 bookies including Amit Singh.
The Royals later suspended their players and the BCCI set up an inquiry into the matter, headed by its Anti-Corruption and Security Unit chief Sawani. Apart from the action taken by the BCCI, the players face possible prison sentences should they be found guilty in a court of law.
They were among 39 persons named in the Delhi Police’s chargesheet on alleged corruption in the IPL in July, charged with criminal conspiracy, cheating and dishonesty under sections of the Indian Penal Code and the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act.
SREESANTH (30): Played 27 Tests, 53 ODIs and 10 T20 Internationals. A member of India’s two World Cup-winning teams, he last played for India in The Oval Test in August 2011.
Punishment: Life ban
ANKEET CHAVAN (27): Played 18 first-class matches for Mumbai. A Ranji regular, he took nine for 23 versus Punjab in a Ranji game in the 2012-13 season.
Punishment: Life ban
AMIT SINGH (32): Played 20 first-class matches for Gujarat. A regular member of the Royals team in 2011 and 2012, he played nine games each season.
Punishment: 5-year ban
SIDDHARTH TRIVEDI (31): Played 78 first-class matches for Gujarat and Saurashtra. A member of India’s U-19 World Cup squad in early 2002, he was one of India’s most promising pacers.
Punishment: 1-year ban
AJIT CHANDILA, who was granted bail on September 9, hasn’t been questioned by Ravi Sawani. However, he can expect the worst.
HARMEET SINGH has been let off with a warning.
Hansie Cronje (South Africa): Life ban in 2000 (died in 2002)
Herschelle Gibbs (South Africa): 6-month ban in 2000 (played after ban)
Henry Williams (South Africa): 6-month ban in 2000 (played after ban)
Ata-ur Rehman (Pakistan): Life ban in 2000 (ban overturned in 2006)
Mohammed Azharuddin (India): Life ban in 2000 (ban overturned in 2012 but never played again)
Ajay Sharma (India): Life ban in 2000 (never played again)
Manoj Prabhakar (India): 5-year ban in 2000 (never played again)
Ajay Jadeja (India): 5-year ban in 2000 (ban overturned in 2003 & played thereafter)
Salim Malik (Pakistan): Life ban in 2001 (ban overturned in 2008)
Maurice Odumbe (Kenya): 5-year ban in 2004 (played after ban)
Marlon Samuels (West Indies): 2-year ban in 2008 (played after ban)
Salman Butt (Pakistan): 10-year ban in 2011
Mohammed Aamer (Pakistan): 5-year ban in 2011
Mohammed Asif (Pakistan): 7-year ban in 2011
Mervyn Westfield (Essex): 5-year ban in 2012
Danish Kaneria (Essex): Life ban in 2012
T.P. Sudhindra (Deccan Chargers): Life ban in 2012
Amit Yadav (KXIP): 1-year ban in 2012
Mohnish Mishra (Deccan Chargers): 1-year ban in 2012
Abhinav Bali (KXIP): 1-year ban in 2012
Shalabh Srivastava (KXIP): 5-year ban in 2012
Shariful Haque (Dhaka Gladiators): Banned for an indefinite period in 2012
Mohammed Ashraful (Dhaka Gladiators): Has confessed to match-fixing but no decision as yet on punishment (could face life or 3-year ban)
Sreesanth (Rajasthan Royals): Life ban in 2013
Ankeet Chavan (Rajasthan Royals): Life ban in 2013
Amit Singh (Rajasthan Royals): 5-year ban in 2013
Siddharth Trivedi (Rajasthan Royals): 1-year ban in 2013