Your ban stands, you can't even play club cricket: BCCI to Sreesanth

BCCI officials indicate to Sreesanth that Saturday’s acquittal will not pave the way for participation in competitive cricket

New Delhi: In what appears to be a face-saving attempt after a Delhi Court exonerated tainted cricketers, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has hinted it could appeal to the High Court against the decision.

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S Sreesanth in a reflective mood during the 2007 India vs England Oval Test in London. Pic/Getty Images
S Sreesanth in a reflective mood during the 2007 India vs England Oval Test in London. Pic/Getty Images 

BCCI president Jagmohan Dalmiya, it is reliably learnt, is in favour of the decision to appeal to the High Court and has conveyed the same to board secretary, Anurag Thakur. Else, the board's ability to manage corruption in the game could be seriously questioned by many, Dalmiya has conveyed to Thakur and other BCCI officials.

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'Keep the pressure on'
It is learnt that Dalmiya has urged the board to keep the pressure on the investigating team of Delhi Police, and those from Chennai, and Mumbai Police and "seek fresh leads" that would help the BCCI if it appeals in the High Court. Besides the three mega cities, cops from cities like Jaipur and Ahmedabad – who had probed charges of spot fixing against the cricketers – could also be contacted to get "fresh evidence".

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However, no comments were forthcoming from BCCI officials throughout Sunday. A senior official of the board, speaking on condition of anonymity, told mid day that the BCCI has conveyed its inability to grant pacer S Sreesanth and others permission to play even club-level cricket.

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The hard stand by the BCCI came after Kolkata-based senior legal consultant, Ushanath Banerjee, studied the judgment and conveyed to the board officials that under no circumstances, the board should relent and reverse the ban order. "Efforts are on to pick up important threads from the Mugdal Committee report, more importantly, in the Annexure papers, to prepare for the case in the High Court," the official said.

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Inputs from Kumar
"Sreesanth called a number of BCCI officials, but was told the ban stays and he will have to wait outside the ground. He will not be able to play for private clubs," the official added. The BCCI, it is learnt, has sought inputs from Neeraj Kumar, the former Delhi Police Commissioner, who has conveyed to the BCCI that it would be wrong to presume that the the Delhi Police — instrumental in cracking the much-talked Hansie Cronje case and others involving former Indian skipper Mohammed Azharuddin and all-rounder Ajay Jadeja — "has ended up with egg on its face".

Senior officials of the Delhi Police, who were involved in the investigation, will meet here today to take stock of the situation and also study what the Delhi High Court judge had observed as "serious loopholes" in the investigation. "The Delhi Police team will take a second look at the audio and video files collected with the help of Mumbai Police and, if the need be, the entire sequence would be reconstructed," an official said.

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