Former India pacer S Sreesanth will return to competitive cricket with a local T20 tournament organised by the Kerala Cricket Association, his first after completing seven-year ban on charges of match-fixing.
Sreesanth, who was banned by the BCCI over his alleged involvement in spot-fixing in the IPL, features in the list of players for the T20 event in Alappuzha. His ban ended in September this year.
He has been picked in the KCA Tigers team to be captained by state team skipper Sachin Baby in the tournament, a KCA official said.
According to the KCA, six teams--KCA Royals, KCA Tigers, KCA Tuskers, KCA Eagles, KCA Panthers and KCA Lions- - have been selected by a committee constituted for the inaugural KCA President's Cup T20 tournament. Besides, Sreesanth and Baby, prominent players like Basil Thampi, Rohan Prem, Midhun S, Asif KM and other senior state players will be featuring in different teams, KCA said.
"The teams are a mixture of youth and experience. The tournament is expected to produce keen contests and provide a platform for many aspiring cricketers to showcase their skills," a KCA press release stated. This will be Sreesanth's comeback on the cricket field after serving the ban, which ended in September this year. The 37-year old bowler had earlier said that he intends to resume at least his domestic career at the end of the ban and his home state Kerala has promised to consider him if he manages to prove his fitness.
KCA said it was waiting for the nod from the government authorities for conducting the tournament in Alappuzha from December 17, 2020, to January 3, 2021, adhering to Covid-19 protocols. Permission for the same has been requested to the government authorities, it said.
KCA said this inaugural T20 tournament will be an annual affair involving six teams selected by a committee constituted for this purpose. "There shall be no franchisees or owners. Each team consists of 14 players and 2 support staff. There will also be 4 players "on-call" for each team, if replacements are required," it said in a release. KCA said all players, support staff and concerned officials shall be brought under a bio-secure environment to minimise the risk of infection through external contact. "Strict adherence to Covid-19 safety protocols will be ensured.
"For this purpose before the commencement of the tournament, KCA will conduct on-line workshops for players/officials, to educate them on the SoPs and on-ground precautionary measures," it said.