The news of S. Sreesanth's arrest for alleged spot fixing in the Indian Premier League (IPL) has come as a shocker to his family, cricket administrators, politicians and the man on the street in Kerala.
The cricketer's mother reacted to the news by stating that her son has been trapped.
Sreesanth's brother-in-law Madhu Balakrishnan said the cricketer had been upset for the past many days and was seen crying. He added that Sreesanth told his parents that he was upset about not being allowed to play in some of the IPL matches.
"He is dead against match-fixing, and can never do anything like that. He told his parents that he was fully fit but was not being allowed to play. We are certain that he will do no wrong," said Balakrishnan, a popular playback singer.
Three Rajasthan Royal players, including Sreesanth, were arrested in Mumbai by the Delhi Police late Wednesday for spot-fixing in IPL matches. The two other Rajasthan Royals cricketers are Ankeet Chavan and Ajit Chandila.
Union Minister of State for Human Resource Development Shashi Tharoor said Sreesanth's arrest came as a big surprise for him.
"He is a hugely talented cricketer and, unless he is proved guilty, I don't want to pass a judgement on it," the member of parliament from Thiruvananthapuram told reporters at his office here.
Cricket administrator B.P. Ajith Kumar said there was a big conspiracy against Sreesanth's arrest in the case.
"In no way can a person like Sreesanth be party to what we are hearing now. I strongly feel that this is a trap. He was raring to return to the Indian cricket team. But now with this false case against him, it would be difficult for him to make a return. If the case lingers on for a few years then the age factor would be against him," said Ajith Kumar.
T.C. Mathew, secretary of the Kerala Cricket Association, said: "I won't believe this news. Sreesanth would never do such a thing."
Sipping tea in front of the Congress party office here, Sreesanth's fans too expressed shocked over the news.
"It's true that Sreesanth is a hyper-active character. But it's very difficult to believe his involvement in the spot-fixing case. We think that he has been trapped," a youth said.
After Tinu Yohanan, Sreesanth is only the second cricketer from Kerala who represented India at the international level.