Kochi: A couple of days after S Sreesanth was exonerated in 2013 IPL spot fixing-case by a Delhi court, a Kerala government body has said that it would throw open the doors of its cricket stadium to the former India medium-pacer despite BCCI's unwillingness to revoke his life ban.
The Jawaharlal Nehru International Stadium at Kaloor, owned by the Greater Cochin Development Authority (GCDA), has been partially leased out to the Kerala Cricket Association,a member of the BCCI, for 30 years for hosting Test matches.
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
GCDA Chairman N Venugopal said that even though Sreesanth had not approached the body so far, seeking permission for doing net practicing at the stadium, but it will be a definite yes if he does so.
"If Sreesanth approaches us, we will definitely throw open the doors of stadium for him because he is a Keralite who has enormously contributed towards good cricket in the country," Venugopal, a Congress leader, told PTI.
When pointed out that Sreesanth was not allowed to play in the Kerala Cricket Association (KCA) ground because of the ban, he cited the agreement signed between GCDA and KCA. He said that if KCA informs the GCDA in advance that it is going to host a Test match in the stadium, then GCDA will leave it in their full control till the tournament gets over.
"We are the owners of the stadium. We have the authority to decide ... who should be allowed in the ground," he said, a day after Sreesanth took to net training at a Government School ground in Edapally here.
Venugopal termed as "strange" the approach of BCCI towards Sreesanth even after he and two other cricketers, Ankeet Chavan and Ajit Chandila, were given a clean chit in the IPL-6 spot-fixing case by Patiala House Court on Saturday.
Accusing BCCI of adopting a "step-motherly attitude" towards Kerala, Venugopal also said the Kochi stadium was not selected as a venue for hosting the Twenty20 World Cup tournament next year.
"BCCI has selected eight venues in the country for playing Twenty20 cricket. They excluded Kochi stadium, which has been hailed as a best cricket ground by legendary cricketer Sachin Tendulkar. It is the best example for their step-motherly attitude towards Kerala," he charged.