Life ban was slapped against the pace bowler after his alleged involvement in spot-fixing during the 2013 IPL season. © Getty
S Sreesanth on Friday told the Supreme Court that the punishment is “too harsh” and he should be allowed to return to the field as he is running against time at 36.
Senior advocate Salman Khurshid, appearing for the cricketer, told a bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan and Ajay Rastogi that Sreesanth has been acquitted by trial court in the spot-fixing case and the life ban should be revoked and he be allowed to play cricket.
He said other players whose names had also cropped up in the IPL spot-fixing scandal were banned for 3-5 years and the life ban on Sreesanth is not justified.
“Life ban is too harsh. He is already 36. He cannot even play local club cricket because of the ban. He wants to play cricket and he got some offer from England but the offer will disappear if he is not allowed to play,” Khurshid said while pleading the court to pass an interim order allowing him to accept the offer.
Khurshid said no other cricketer has been treated in such a harsh manner and cited the case of former captain Mohammad Azharuddin, who faced similar punishment after the match-fixing scandal.
BCCI allowed Azharuddin to contest for the post of president of Hyderabad Cricket Association, Sreesanth maintained.
Senior advocate Parag Tripathi, appearing for Committee of Administrators (CoA), said there should be zero tolerance against any kind of corruption and malpractices in cricket and the harsh punishment was slapped to send a stern message to other players.
The bench deferred the hearing and said the Delhi High Court should first decide on the appeal filed against Sreesanth’s acquittal in the spot-fixing scandal. The court posted the hearing for third week of January.
Life ban was slapped against the pace bowler after his alleged involvement in spot-fixing during the 2013 IPL season.
The Delhi Police had arrested Sreesanth, along with cricketers Ajit Chandila and Ankeet Chavan and others on charges of spot-fixing. As many as 36 accused in the spot-fixing case, including Sreesanth, Chavan and Chandila, were let-off by the trial court in July, 2015.
The Delhi Police later challenged the verdict in the Delhi High Court. BCCI though refused to alter its disciplinary decision even after the verdict.
A single-judge bench of the Kerala High Court had on August 7 last year lifted the life ban imposed on Sreesanth but a division bench of the high court later restored the ban on a petition filed by BCCI.