BCCI cannot act as jury and judge: Time to let Sreesanth make a comeback
In the case of Sreesanth, his record is as clean as Sachin's or Dhoni's or Gavaskar's. The courts have ruled this. So, will you also now welcome him back to cricket? His swagger, fight and belligerence?
Yesterday saw an extraordinary turn of events that once again brought into question the BCCI's ability to manage corruption.
A court in Delhi has decided that the high profile Sreesanth is not guilty of spot fixing in IPL 6. In fact, it emphatically ruled that the charges against him were so far from being proven that they were in effect a waste of everyone's time.
These are the same charges for which the BCCI has banned the highly emotive fast bowler for life.
The Indian administrators who banned Sreesanth are the same ones whose investigations declared the Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals free of conflict of interests. The same administrators who took no action against Meiyappan or Raj Kundra. The same administrators who elected Srinivasan to the ICC Board.
The same administrators whose rulings have been diametrically opposed to every finding from an Indian Court in the past 24 months.
Scary, isn't it?
In the BCCI's world, an investigation led by employee Ravi Shastri has more gravitas than one led by the Indian Supreme Court.
The blatant arrogance is both admirable and also a licence to ruin lives.
In this case, it is Sreesanth who has been slapped across the face. However, this time it wasn't by Harbhajan, but the BCCI stick of public perception management.
Logically, the Delhi Court's decree essentially has Sreesanth's criminal record for spot fixing the same as Sachin Tendulkar's. Both are less than Srinivasan's extended personal and corporate family.
Sreesanth always claimed his admissions and confessions to the Delhi police came under duress. The police threatened to arrest his family and he was scared. When taken in, he was in the company of a young woman outside a 5 star hotel in a car. He was drunk.
That he was a Rajasthan Royals player will always create doubts in the minds of some. Guilt by association is a powerful human reaction.
However, yesterday, the Delhi Court dropped all charges. Inferred links to key underworld figure Dawood Ibrahim were not proven.
Sreesanth has been vindicated for now. The Delhi police claim they will appeal the result.
Given this, how can the BCCI now uphold their life ban for the fast bowler? On what grounds of natural justice do they stand behind? What evidence do they have that the Delhi court has ignored, interpreted differently or simply have not seen?
This is important. Extremely important.
For if a cricketing body feels it appropriate to be the hand of justice, then its processes, procedures and probity must be easily understood and visible. More crucially, the players and fans need to trust it.
This is not the case with the BCCI. Its delusional self view is that it answers to no one. The truth is that with every call it makes that deviates far from legal system outcomes, its moral right to impart justice becomes further untenable.
In the last 2 years, it has got every high profile investigation wrong, including Sreesanth's.
Now let's put this all into perspective.
Have you welcomed Mohammed Amir back?
He in a convicted spot fixer. He only confessed after being cornered. Yes, he is young. But a man of 18 knows right from wrong. He is a cheat. Does the game really owe him anything? Do we need him? What do we lose? Why do we owe him anything at all?
In the case of Sreesanth, his record is as clean as Sachin's or Dhoni's or Gavaskar's. The courts have ruled this.
So, will you also now welcome him back to cricket? His swagger, fight and belligerence?
But not for any cricketing reason, for they will simply be a bonus.
It is because if we don't trust and respect the rulings of the courts, we are left with the BCCI making those calls on our behalf.
Let that sink in for a while.
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