Relieved of charges and allowed to resume his playing career last year, India and Kerala paceman S Sreesanth has finally opened on the 2013 IPL spot-fixing scandal, completely denying the claims that he indulged in fixing an over of a match.
In an interview with Sportskeeda, Sreesanth rubbished the claim that he took money to concede a certain number of runs off his over while playing for Rajasthan Royals (RR) in the IPL eight years back.
The cricketer revealed that he was offered money to give “14-plus runs” in an over but he never took that option, asserting that he didn’t give that many runs when he bowled and was playing with full honesty and dedication, as he strived to make a comeback to the Indian team after recovering from a string of injuries.
“This is the first interview in which I am sharing or explaining it. It was supposed to be one over and 14-plus runs. I bowled four balls for five runs. No no-ball, no wide and not a single slower ball in an IPL game. I was bowling at 130-plus after 12 surgeries on my toe,” S Sreesanth told Sportskeeda.
“I had played the Irani Trophy and was looking to play the South African series, so that we can win in September 2013. We were going early, and it moves better in September. My goal was to play that series.”
Sreesanth said the amount he was offered was nowhere near his total earnings and spendings. “A person like that, why would I do it, that too for 10 lakhs? I am not talking big but I used to have bills of around 2 lakh when I partied around.”
S Sreesanth refutes spot-fixing claims
During the interview, S Sreesanth also said most of his payments back in the day were done by card and not cash. The cricketer added if he had as much money as offered to him in cash, he would’ve been “spraying it out”.
“I used to pay with my card not cash. If I had so much of cash, I would have been spraying it out. In fact, I used to take care of even a normal person,” he said, adding how his family, friends and other well-wishers have helped him get back on his feet after an extended period of despair.
“In my life, I have only helped and given belief. I have helped a lot of people, and those prayers helped me get out of this. All I would ask is – two balls, five runs, two balls to go. How would I give away all that I had invested? No way.”
Sreesanth was given a life-long ban by the BCCI for his alleged involvement in the IPL fixing scandal, the status of which he contested in the Supreme Court and won.
The highest court of the country asked the BCCI to revisit the length of the punishment imposed on the cricketer and the Indian board was forced to drop it down to a back-dated seven-year term.
The Indian board’s latest decision allowed Sreesanth to resume his competitive cricket career back in September 2020 when he began training with the Kerala senior state side for the 2021-22 domestic season.
The 38-year-old made his comeback through the Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 earlier this year and bagged four wickets from his five matches. Sreesanth played 27 Tests, 53 ODIs and 10 T20Is for India.