Ankeet Chavan and S Sreesanth became only the fourth and fifth Indian cricketers ever to be banned for life by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) yesterday for their involvement in the recent Indian Premier League (IPL) spot-fixing scam.
Former India captain Mohammed Azharuddin and ex-ODI cricketer Ajay Sharma were the first two Indian players to receive life bans by the BCCI for their involvement in the sensational match-fixing scandal that rocked Indian cricket in 1999-2000.
In June last year, Madhya Pradesh pacer TP Sudhindra was banned for life by the Board following a TV sting operation that implicated him and four other players — Shalabh Srivastav Mohnish Mishra, Amit Yadav and Abhinav Bali — for indulging in shady deals in IPL and other matches.
Sudhindra, then 28 years old, received a life ban even as the four other players got lesser punishments (Srivastav was banned for five years while Mishra, Yadav and Bali received a one-year ban each).
Sudhindra remains a sour man. “What is there for me to say? There’s nothing I’d like to say at this moment,” Sudhindra told MiD DAY when asked for a reaction to the life bans handed to Chavan and Sreesanth.
Speaking on life after the ban, the pacer, who took an impressive 40 wickets at an average of 18.70 for Madhya Pradesh in the 2011-12 Ranji season to emerge the leading wicket-taker, tried hard to remain positive.
“Life is not over for me… I have stuff to do… I now do some small-time private jobs… I’m ok. Life has moved on. I want to only look at the good things in life now,” he said, still reluctant to speak much. The period that ensued after he was handed the ban, however, was the harshest of his life, admitted Sudhindra.
“For how long have you been a journalist?” he suddenly asked this correspondent. A moment’s pause later, he said: “What if you are told to stop writing right now? What if you are told, likhana bandh karo, abhi! How would you feel? How would you react? Won’t your world come crashing down? That’s what I felt,” he signed off, with a little empathy for Chavan and Sreesanth.