After being cleared of all charges in the IPL spot-fixing scandal, Shantakumaran Sreesanth, Ajit Chandila and Ankeet Chavan hope to get the BCCI's nod to return to action soon.
Manu Shankar/Rediff.com reports from the Patiala House Court in New Delhi.
- I hope to seek permission from the BCCI to start using the training facilities soon, so that I can get fit and get into the selection process: Shantakumaran Sreesanth
- I request the BCCI to give me a chance to prove myself: Ajit Chandila
- I lost two crucial years of my cricket. I can do something after this order: Ankeet Chavan
It was a contrast of emotions as Additional Sessions Judge Neena Bansal Krishna pronounced the verdict on all the 36 accused including former India Test cricketer Shantakumaran Sreesanth, and his Rajasthan Royals teammates Ajit Chandila and Ankeet Chavan, at the Patiala House Court in New Delhi, on Saturday, July 25.
When Judge Bansal declared: "All are discharged from the case," with a smile on her face, Sreesanth at the other end, could not control his emotions and broke down into tears.
Chandila and Chavan were seen hugging their peers, with a sense of relief that the nightmare is finally over for them.
The three cricketers were arrested by the Delhi police in May 2013 during the sixth edition of the IPL for their alleged role in spot-fixing.
Subsequently, the Board of Control for Cricket in India in September 2013 had banned Sreesanth and Chavan for life for their alleged role in the scandal, while Chandila was yet to be punished.
BCCI Anti-Corruption Unit chief Ravi Sawani, who probed the spot-fixing scandal and submitted his report, found Sreesanth, Chavan and Chandila guilty on multiple counts.
Sreesanth was seen carrying a small t-shirt of his baby girl, which he termed as 'lucky' for him.
"My daughter has been a lucky charm for me," said Sreesanth, reacting to the order.
"I am relieved and I am grateful to all those who prayed for me. I hope to seek permission from the BCCI to start using the training facilities soon, so that I can get fit and get into the selection process. God has been extremely kind."
"The BCCI has been very supportive all through," Sreesanth said. "T C Mathew Sir 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 and not be able to use it. I went through a lot of things, but it is past now. I would love to be able to run there."
Chandila said the court order has given him a fresh lease of life and he will get back into action with renewed vigour.
"I never thought I would ever face such a horrible nightmare. I am glad all this is over. I was waiting for this day and had full hope in the Indian judiciary."
"I had hoped that one day will come when the entire nation will see that I have not done anything wrong and will be acquitted. Now you will see the same Ajit Chandila with double motivation and power and I will show you how I used to play my cricket."
"I request the BCCI to give me a chance to prove myself," he added.
The Delhi police had named 42 accused in the case in its chargesheet, of whom six including fugitive gangsters Dawood Ibrahim and Chhota Shakeel are absconding.
The Delhi police investigation had earlier come under the scanner of the court which questioned its theory of 'match-fixing', saying there is prima facie no evidence showing that matches were fixed by the accused.
During the arguments on framing of charges in the case, the police had referred to telephonic conversations among the accused to buttress their claim that they were involved in match-fixing and betting.
"I was nervous, but at the same time confident that the result would be in my favour," Mumbai left-arm spinner Chavan said. "I had lost two crucial years of my cricket. I can do something after this order."