Cracking the whip on domestic cricketers caught in the IPL spot-fixing scandal, the BCCI today slapped a life ban on pacer T P Sudhindra and handed lighter punishments to four other players who were also exposed in a TV sting operation.
The decision to ban the players for varying degrees was taken by the BCCI's disciplinary committee, headed by President N Srinivasan, which met here to discuss the report submitted by the Board's Anti-Corruption Unit chief Ravi Sawani on the matter.
While the 28-year-old Sudhindra was the worst hit as his career seems all but over, Shalabh Srivastava was banned for five years. Mohnish Mishra, Amit Yadav and Abhinav Bali were banned for a year each.
"The Committee held Sudhindra guilty of actually receiving a consideration to spot-fix in a domestic cricket match, and hence imposed exemplary penalty on him. Sudhindra has been debarred for life, from playing any cricket matches conducted or authorised by the ICC or BCCI, or any affiliated unit of the BCCI," the Board said in a statement.
Sudhindra will not be entitled to the monthly gratis, benevolent fund, benefit match or any other facility offered to players by the BCCI. He also cannot hold any position in any cricket association affiliated to the BCCI for life.
"Shalabh Srivastava was held guilty of agreeing to fix a match and negotiate terms for the same, even though no actual match-fixing or spot fixing took place," the Board stated.
"He has been debarred for a period of five years, from playing any cricket matches conducted or authorised by the ICC or BCCI, or any affiliated unit of the BCCI," it added. Like Sudhindra, he will also not be entitled to the monthly gratis, benevolent fund, benefit matches or any other facility, during this period.
Srivastava has been also barred from holding positions in any cricket association affiliated to the BCCI, for a period of five years. "The (other) three players, through loose talk and unsubstantiated bragging, brought the game into disrepute, and hence, have been held guilty of the lesser offence," the Board explained.
"They have been debarred for a period of one year, from playing any cricket matches conducted or authorised by the ICC or BCCI, or any affiliated unit of the BCCI," it added. The penalties will be effective from the date of the suspension of these players which was May 15.
The television sting operation had claimed that they agreed to shadowy deals in the Indian Premier League and other matches. Three of the five players -- Sudhindra, Mishra and Bali -- attended the meeting today to present their points of view before the panel whose other members are Board vice-presidents Arun Jaitely and Niranjan Shah.
Srivastava and Yadav pleaded their respective cases through teleconference during the meeting. The five uncapped players were allegedly caught indulging in corrupt practices, including spot-fixing, by a TV channel which conducted a sting operation during this year's IPL.
BCCI had then asked Sawani to conduct a probe in the matter and he submitted his report to Srinivasan a few weeks back. The channel -- India TV -- had claimed to have blown the lid off "murky deals" in the IPL among players, organisers, owners and big guns of Indian cricket.
According to the channel, its operation revealed that spot-fixing is not only prevalent in IPL but also that first class matches are fixed and women played an important role in match-fixing.
Four of the five banned players had previously played in the rebel Indian Cricket League. Medium pacer Sudhindra, who had played for Delhi Giants in the ICL, helped Madhya Pradesh gain promotion to Ranji Trophy's Elite Division in the 2010-11 season.
He surprised everyone in his first season in the big league, ending the 2011-12 season as its highest wicket-taker and earning himself a contract with the Deccan Chargers in the IPL. Madhya Pradesh middle-order batsman Mishra too played for the Delhi Giants in the rebel Indian Cricket League before gaining amnesty form the BCCI. Signed by Deccan Chargers in 2010, 28-year-old Mishra moved to the newly-formed Pune Warriors in 2011.
Uttar Pradesh left-arm seamer Srivastava was India's highest wicket-taker at the victorious Under-19 World Cup in Sri Lanka in 2000. After severing ties with ICL team Delhi Giants, Srivastava was signed up by Kings XI Punjab in 2011.
The 22-year-old Yadav, an all-rounder, bats right-handed and bowls off-spin for Goa. He has played 14 first-class matches, scoring three half centuries and taking 41 wickets at 23.75. Yadav was on Kings XI Punjab's roster but hasn't made his IPL debut yet.
Left-arm spinner Bali, who was with Delhi Giants in the ICL, had played 13 first-class matches but was not in any IPL team.