New Delhi: "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 on Saturday.
"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.
Cricketer S Sreesanth talks on phone outside the Patiala House Courts in New Delhi after a trial court discharged him in the Indian Premier League 2013 spot-fixing scandal on Saturday. Pic/PTI
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.
Following is the chronology of events in IPL 6 spot-fixing and betting scandal in which a Delhi court today discharged all the accused in the case:
* May 16: Rajasthan Royals players -- S Sreesanth, Ajit Chandila and Ankeet Chavan -- arrested by Delhi Police.
* May 28: IPL Governing Council sets up Inquiry Committee to probe the case.
* Jun 2: BCCI President N Srinivasan relinquishes BCCI duties temporarily.
* Jun 11: Sreesanth and Chavan granted bail.
* Jul 30: Delhi police files chargesheet, naming Dawood Ibrahim and Chhota Shakeel as persons who have been controlling the fixing and betting market in cricket in India
* Sep 9: Ajit Chandila granted bail by a Delhi court. Others also granted bail over a passage of time.
* Nov 18: Delhi police files supplementary charge sheet in the case.
* May 31: Court orders property attachment of Dawood and others.
* Sep 30: Court declares Dawood, Chhota Shakeel and one other as proclaimed offenders.
* May 23: Court reserves order on framing of charges in the case.
* Jul 25: All 36 accused discharged in the case.