Shortly before he was sentenced to life ban by the BCCI disciplinary committee, S Sreesanth asserted he had never cheated the game and hoped to represent India again.
Clad in white shirt and blue denims, Sreesanth was the last among all the accused players to be heard out by the disciplinary committee. He even reposed his faith on judiciary and the BCCI after the meeting.
The news of life ban, though, stumped Sreesanth who tweeted "Been tracking the news channels...me getting a life ban??!! Very surprising...". The tweet, however, was quick to be taken out by the bowler.
While talking to the reporters before the disciplinary committee slapped the life ban, Sreesanth said the committee was very cooperative.
"The disciplinary committee members were very cooperative. I presented them my side of the story. I have dreamt from childhood to play for India and I will never cheat the game. I did not argue before the committee," the pacer, who was accompanied by his friend , Manoj, said earlier on Friday.
“A lot has been said and done in my name but all I want is to start playing for India again. I have full faith in the judiciary as well as the BCCI and I will come clean in this whole issue.”
But the scenario soon changed, with the BCCI announcing the life ban.
The temperamental bowler, whose career has been fraught with controversies, had spent 27 days in Tihar jail after he was arrested in Mumbai by the Delhi Police. The Kerala pacer, who burst onto international scene in 2005, has 87 wickets from 27 Tests and 75 wickets in 53 ODIs. His career now looks well and truly over.
Sreesanth along with Rajasthan Royals teammates Ajit Chandila and Ankeet Chavan was the key accused in the spot-fixing scandal during the Indian Premier League this year. All three were arrested by the Delhi Police before being released on bail. Their IPL contracts, too, were terminated following the scandal.
The BCCI's Disciplinary Committee took the decision on the report of Ravi Sawani, who heads the BCCI's Anti-Corruption and Security Unit. He had handed the report to the Board during its Working Committee meeting in Kolkata last month.
Sawani in his report had said that he was “fully convinced” that Sreesanth was the part of spot fixing and proposed life ban for him.
* May 16, 2012: Three Rajasthan Royals players – S Sreesanth, Ankeet Chavan, Ajit Chandila – arrested by the Delhi Police for fraud and cheating. The BCCI suspends the trio.
* May 19: The Royals decide to press charges against the trio.
* May 20: The Rajasthan franchise cancel the contracts of the three players.
* May 21: Sreesanth says he is innocent. Five days later, he applies for bail.
* May 28: Sreesanth sent to judicial custody.
* May 31: Siddharth Trivedi, a Rajasthan Royals player, records a statement against the trio and will be a witness for the prosecution.
* June 10: Sreesanth and Chavan given bail.
* June 17: Chandila sent to three-day police custody.
* July 30: The Delhi Police name Sreesanth, Chavan and Chandila in a chargesheet
* Sept 7: Chandila gets bail.
* Sept 13: The cricket board hands life bans for Sreesanth and Chavan. No verdict yet on Chandila. Siddharth Trivedi banned for a year.
* BLASTS FROM THE PAST:
* Former South African captain Hansie Cronje was banned for life for fixing matches in 2000.
* In India, former captain Mohd Azharuddin was banned for life but it was struck down by AP high court in 2012.
* Pakistan’s Salim Malik was banned for life in 2000 but it was lifted in 2008.
* Former Pakistan captain Salman Butt was banned for ten years in 2011 while Mohd Asif received a seven-year ban and Mohd Aamer five-year ban for spot-fixing.
* In India, medium pacer T P Sudhindra was banned for life in a spot-fixing case last year after a sting-operation.