Happiness and relief was evident in Harmeet Singh’s voice after the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) gave the left-arm spinner a clean chit in the Indian Premier League (IPL) spot fixing scandal.
Yesterday the Indian board’s disciplinary committee comprising N Srinivasan, Arun Jaitley and Niranjan Shah met in New Delhi to discuss the report submitted by the Anti-Corruption and Security Unit (ACSU) chief Ravi Sawani. A BCCI press release stated: “The case against Harmeet Singh has been closed in the absence of evidence against him.”
The news came as a belated birthday gift for Harmeet, who turned 21 on September 7. “It is the happiest day of my life. I am so relieved. I really want to thank my family for their support, and also my lawyers — Ashok Paranjpe and Nilesh Gala. I can’t wait to get back to cricket now,” Harmeet told MiD DAY from the capital.
Harmeet was approached by his Rajasthan Royals teammate Ajit Chandila, who fixed a meeting at a hotel in Bandra, where bookies urged Harmeet to indulge in spot fixing at the start of the IPL-VI. The youngster reportedly turned down the offer. He was issued a show cause notice for not reporting the incident to the Indian board or IPL officials. “I haven’t slept properly ever since my name cropped up in this scandal.
I could not sleep because I did not know how to prove my innocence to the world. I am just happy that the nightmare is finally over,” said Harmeet, one of the stars of India’s U-19 World Cup triumph in Australia last year.
Harmeet was summoned by the BCCI to appear before the disciplinary committee, who passed an order after considering the evidence and hearing out each player. “It went off well. They were very polite. I presented my side of the story. They heard me patiently. I was then asked to leave. I came to know about the final verdict through the Board’s press release,” said Harmeet.
Now that the spot fixing stigma is off his back, Harmeet’s immediate focus is to start playing again. “I will play in the Dr HD Kanga Cricket League for my club Shivaji Park Gymkhana the weekend after next. I would have loved to play this weekend but I won’t be able to reach on time,” said the Borivli lad. Harmeet was not allowed to play any competitive cricket due to the on-going inquiry.
Meanwhile, Harmeet has decided not to go to play for Vidarbha in the Ranji Trophy. “I have taken back my No Objection Certificate (NOC). I had not signed any contract with Vidarbha as well. I will again try for a place in the Mumbai team. I have already lost a lot of time in this (IPL scandal). Thankfully, I can now fully focus on my cricket again,” concluded Harmeet.