From A Cricket Fan: Tell Us If Our Hero Is a Villain?

Delhi Court declares Sreesanth clean. He may return to main sphere, so why disappoint his fans all this while?

Updated
Opinion
3 min read
S Sreesanth celebrates with his family,
after discharged by a Delhi court in IPL scam, at his residence in Kochi on Sunday. (Photo: PTI)
From A Cricket Fan: Tell Us If Our Hero Is a Villain?
  • Are Sreesanth, Ajit Chandila, Ankeet Chavan guilty or not?
  • If BCCI can have an anti-corruption code, why can’t the Indian law?
  • The law has been too lenient on those who have been held guilty by their Boards
  • Tainted former cricketers have regained respect over time, so what is all the fuss about?

As cricket fans we are all confused. We just don’t know whom to believe.

In 2013, we had a group of three cricketers-Sreesanth, Ajit Chandila and Ankeet Chavan- being paraded as hard-nosed criminals with their faces covered. Two years later, the same trio are today being told by a lower court that in fact the charges levelled in 2013 does not merit a case.

It means that whatever the trio went through two years ago was all for nothing. Their families were boxed into a corner by relentless media coverage, insinuations and all that. Above all the Indian cricket fan was made to wonder if the match they were watching was actually a genuine encounter.

The Patiala House Court verdict on Saturday has left everyone confused about what the fuss was about in the first place, when the Delhi police paraded their big catch. No one will ever know what the truth actually is, which means the fan is left high and dry, again.

BCCI vs The Indian Law

The BCCI too in their response made it known that the ban imposed by them on two of the three (Sreesanth and Chavan) stands. That is because curiously, there is an anti-corruption code of the BCCI and the ICC, but not under the Indian law! So while the BCCI can prove the players’ guilt, in the actual court of law there is no case, all very confusing for a layman.

In this photo of 2000, Indian cricket star Ajay Jadeja shows his
statement after being named in a match-fixing report along with former captain
Mohammad Azharuddin. (Photo: Reuters)
In this photo of 2000, Indian cricket star Ajay Jadeja shows his statement after being named in a match-fixing report along with former captain Mohammad Azharuddin. (Photo: Reuters)

So are the trio of former Rajasthan Royals, guilty or not?  That’s a question which will not be answered till India, like United Kingdom and New Zealand, enacts a law against fixing in sport. Till then we will end up having such confusing instances where the players regain ‘respect’ via law, but remain an outcast in the cricketing ecosystem.

This is in fact a repeat of the first case of cricket fixing that surfaced in 2000. Then the BCCI ‘established’ guilt, imposed bans on the likes of Mohammed Azharuddin, Ajay Sharma, Ajay Jadeja and Manoj Prabhakar.  Jadeja fought his ban and came back to play Ranji Trophy for three different teams, Azhar’s life ban was lifted by a court and is now a ‘respected’ TV pundit, apart from having been a Member of Parliament.

Prabhakar has also donned the hat of being a TV expert and a bowling coach of the Delhi Ranji team. The only person who has missed out on the gravy train is Ajay Sharma.

Are Fans Really Pivotal?

All this is a slap on the face of the Indian fan who sees his or her heroes turn villains, only to be ‘accepted’ by the mainstream after the case fades out of public memory. So is all the outrage in the first place really worth it? Not at all, because if the ‘discredited’ players are going to be accepted again, then what were we fussing about in 2000 and 2013?

Protests after former India test bowler
Shanthakumaran Sreesanth was arrested. (Photo: Reuters)
Protests after former India test bowler Shanthakumaran Sreesanth was arrested. (Photo: Reuters)

Not just in India, even in other countries, the discredited players have moved back into coaching roles, news studios, commentary boxes and some like Mohammed Amir are itching to return to international cricket.  So what it proves is that you can afford to cheat, but all will be forgiven if you give some time for the matter to die down.

Cricketers are meant to be role models, but this way we are hardly creating the right idols for youngsters to emulate.

But then do we, the fan, matter?

Liked this story? We'll send you more. Subscribe to The Quint's newsletter and get selected stories delivered to your inbox every day. Click to get started.

The Quint is available on Telegram & WhatsApp too, click to join.

Published: 
Stay Updated

Subscribe To Our Daily Newsletter And Get News Delivered Straight To Your Inbox.

Join over 120,000 subscribers!