Two years ago, Ankeet Chavan's residence wore a deserted look. There was gloom everywhere. The left-arm spinner's high-flying career came to a halt after the Delhi police arrested the 28-year-old and his two Rajasthan Royals teammates (S Sreesanth and Ajit Chandila) from the team hotel in Mumbai on the night of May 15, 2013 after Rajasthan Royals lost to Mumbai Indians in an Indian Premier League match at Wankhede Stadium.
IPL spot-fixing: Court drops charges against Sreesanth, Chandila, Chavan
Ankeet Chavan's father Anil feeds a sweet to his daughter-in-law Neha as her mother-in-law looks on after the verdict at their Dadar residence on Saturday. Pic/Suresh KK
On Saturday, however, the scenes at the Chavan household were quite the opposite when a Delhi court dropped all charges against the trio in the 2013 IPL spot fixing case. Tears of joy just couldn't stop flowing. The good times were back. Relatives and close friends hugged Chavan's father Anil and mother Rachna as tears rolled down their cheeks. "We have had enough. Now, it is time to celebrate," said a family member while greeting a well-wisher.
IPL spot-fixing: BCCI sticks to ban on Sreesanth, Chandila, Chavan
Not seeing Chavan with the ball on the field was the toughest phase for not just his parents but also his grandmother Susheela. "I was waiting for this day eagerly. Now, I am just waiting for him (Chavan) to return (from New Delhi)," said Susheela as she sat near the television, eager to catch every glimpse of his grandson on the news channels. "I told God that if my grandson doesn't get justice today, I will remove all his photo frames from the house. I was so pained at what had happened. I am very happy our prayers have been answered today," said an emotional Susheela.
The last two years have been the most painful for the Chavans. "We will now enjoy peaceful sleep. We want to forget whatever happened as a bad dream and start afresh. I attended most of the hearings and was confident that the verdict would come in our favour. We had full faith in the judiciary and were confident justice would be done," said Chavan's father Anil.
Chavan assisted his father in his work and spent his free time working out in the gym to keep up his fitness levels. The tough time was an eye-opener for the family. "It made us realise who are our real well-wishers. Ankeet realised who are his real friends. A lot of his cricketer-friends have stayed in touch with him," Chavan Sr said.
Also read: Chronology of the IPL spot-fixing saga
Although the Delhi court may have dropped the charges against Chavan, the family is planning to appeal to the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to lift the life ban it imposed immediately after his arrest. "We will appeal to the Indian cricket board to let him play cricket again," his father signed off.