“I want my daughter to know me as a cricketer and not a terrorist when she googles my name,” said S Sreesanth after being exonerated of spot-fixing charges by a Delhi Court today.
“My daughter is three months old. When she grows old and googles my name, I want her to know me as a cricketer and not a terrorist. When I saw my photograph being flashed alongside Dawood Ibrahim, I was like shocked. I wondered what have I done to myself to deserve this,” an emotional Sreesanth said as his two-year ordeal ended.
Slapped with charges including that of organised crime, India’s Test discard Sreesanth and two other cricketers Ajit Chandila and Ankeet Chavan, were today discharged in the sensational 2013 IPL-6 spot-fixing case by a court here which held that police has failed to make out a case against them.
Sreesanth said, “My father had two heart attacks. He had an open-heart surgery. Obviously, it is connected to the stress that a father suffers when his son is sent to Tihar jail,” said the member of the 2007 World T20 and 2011 World Cup winning squad.
BCCI has made it clear that their disciplinary committee verdict will remain unaltered, but Sreesanth made it clear that he is in no mood for a fight against the parent body.
“I became Sreesanth because of BCCI and I will not go against them. Obviously, I believe that they will see my truth. Right now, I just feel that I would be happy if I am allowed to play even a club match. I feel I can bowl those outswingers again,” he said.
While he did not want to divulge as to which cricketers had kept in touch with him, Sreesanth did say that Sachin Tendulkar following his twitter handle made him believe in his innocence.
“Sachin paaji still follows me on twitter. May be it’s a very small thing for him but a big thing for me. It made me feel proud. Also Viru bhai had kept in touch and always had encouraging words.”
Sreesanth also spoke about his friend Jiju Janardhan, a co-accused in the case, who has also been discharged.
“Everyone tainted him calling him a bookie. How many people know that Jiju was selected for MRF Pace Foundation?”
“I am born to play cricket. I am a cricketer first. BCCI has been very supportive. TC Mathew sir in Kerala had told me that you finish this and we will take it from there.
“The worst that can happen to a cricketer is stay behind the National Stadium (Kochi) and not be able to use it. Even an Under-14 kid who respects you goes to the stadium and I was not allowed. I just couldn’t control my tears. I went through a lot of things but that’s past… I would love to go tomorrow and run there,” he said.