Shivaji Park was abuzz with dhol and Bollywood music for the fifth day of Ganesh immersion, yesterday. But amidst all the hoopla, a few metres away from the Dadar beach, the atmosphere crackled with tension at disgraced cricketer Ankeet Chavan’s residence.
Yesterday, the Mumbai-based Rajasthan Royals left-arm spinner was banned for life for his involvement in the Indian Premier League spot fixing case. The anxiety was evident on Chavan’s mother’s face.
His wife Neha and father Anil were with him in New Delhi, where he deposed before the Board of Control for Cricket in India’s (BCCI) disciplinary committee.
Chavan’s life ban came as a shocker to his mother after MiD DAY broke the news to her as soon as it was confirmed in a BCCI press release. Her world seemed to have collapsed. It was some time before she regained her composure.
The family here found it hard to believe the verdict. The reluctant acceptance was quite natural. Initially however, they tried hard to dismiss it as just another rumour.
One of Chavan’s relatives struggled to accept what she thought was a very harsh punishment. As for Mrs Chavan, she did not want to comment.
Just last week, this correspondent bumped into Chavan and his wife outside his residence. He was tense and worried for his future, but he was also trying to focus his energies back on the game. Ankeet said he had started training. He also sounded confident of coming out clean from the mess.
Chavan is the first cricketer from Mumbai to be found guilty in a fixing controversy. “He has let Mumbai cricket down,” said Mumbai coach Sulakshan Kulkarni. “I don’t understand the need to get involved in any such wrongdoing.
They earn quite well. They need to be satisfied. It is really unfortunate.” Kulkarni said Mumbai has lost a talented player in Chavan, who finished as the highest wicket-taker (33 in 10 matches) in last season’s Ranji Trophy.
“He was doing really well. Last year he was outstanding. He was maturing as a spinner. I had high hopes for him. But everything has gone to waste now,” lamented Kulkarni.