In what can be termed as a big relief for former Indian pacer S Sreesanth, the Supreme Court on Friday, March 15, set aside the BCCI's disciplinary committee's order imposing a life ban for his alleged involvement in the 2013 IPL spot-fixing scandal.
A bench, which comprised justices Ashok Bhushan and KM Joseph, has also asked the disciplinary committee of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to reconsider the quantum of punishment within three months to be given to Sreesanth. They also made it clear that fast bowler will now get the opportunity of being heard by the committee on the revised quantum of the punishment.
However, the apex court has made it clear that this verdict will have no bearing on the pending criminal proceedings against the former cricketer in the Delhi High Court, where the Delhi Police has already challenged a trial court's order which discharged all the accused of the spot-fixing scandal.
Immediately after the verdict, the CoA chief Vinod Rai said that the issue will be discussed when the Committee of Administrators meets next. "Yes, I have heard about the Supreme Court order. We will need to get a copy of the order. We will definitely take up the issue at the COA meeting," COA chief Vinod Rai told PTI.
Onus on CoA to carry out orders of the apex court
Also, CK Khanna, who is the acting secretary of BCCI said that the onus will be on CoA as they have been entrusted with carrying out the orders of the Supreme Court.
"This is a Supreme Court order and obviously a call needs to be taken. I am confident that the issue will come up for serious deliberation at the next COA meeting. As far as Sreesanth being brought back to mainstream cricket, I have no comment to make," Khanna said.
However, former BCCI vice-president and Kerala CA senior official TC Matthew, has welcomed the verdict. "I am very happy for Sreesanth. He has lost six most precious years of his life. I don't think even if the ban is lifted he can play first-class cricket.
Matthew said that even after the upliftment of the ban, the fast bowler will not be able to play cricket, but can always have an alternate career in cricket, which could include coaching, mentoring etc.