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Back from the wilderness

A scapegoat is a person who is blamed for the wrongdoings, mistakes, or faults of others, especially for reasons of expediency. That’s a word Sreesanth must have memorised by now.A court in Delhi has ruled that the high profile cricketer Sreesanth is not guilty of spot-fixing in IPL 6. In fact, it clearly ruled that the charges against him were so far from being proven that they were in effect a waste of tax payer money and newsprint.All charges against S Sreesanth, Ajit Chandila, Ankeet Chavan have been dropped due to a lack of evidence. Today Sreesanth must feel like a character from Shawshank redemption. As any cricket lover would remember he once bowled fast outswingers for India. He was also once the spearhead of an Indian pace attack which could give the best in the world a run for their money. One of the first genuine fast bowlers from Kerala after Tinu Yohannan and Abey Kuruvilla donned Indian colours, Sreesanth was the Mario Balotelli of Indian cricket. Incredibly talented but a little messed up in the head. Like Balotelli after being exonerated by the Delhi High Court, Sreesanth could be tempted to ask, why always me? Well, for one Sreesanth was controversial to say the least. Sreesanth was noted for his exuberant and sometimes deranged behaviour  on the field, especially while appealing for and celebrating wickets. He had been warned several times for indiscipline both on and off the cricket field, and frequently fined for violating the player conduct guidelines of the International Cricket Council. In October 2009, the BCCI issued a final warning to Sreesanth that any repetition of his code of conduct violations might result in drastic actions such as a ban from domestic cricket.  Subsequently, the Kerala Cricket Association also issued a final warning over repeated violations of their code of conduct after Sreesanth failed to turn up at the Kerala Ranji Trophy team camp in Kannur.In November 2009, however, after more than 18 months of omission from the national team, Sreesanth was recalled to the Test squad for the first two matches against Sri Lanka. He replaced Ishant Sharma for the second Test in Kanpur, where his five-wicket haul in the first innings of the match earned him the Man of the Match award and helped India to win the Test match by an innings and 144 runs. This was only the beginning of the highlights of what was to be an up and down yo-yo career. A career which was to swing between the giddy high of taking that catch which was to win India the twenty twenty world cup final in 2007, to the sad low of seeing him handcuffed like a common criminal and paraded down for the media contingent to photograph. The IPL at one point of time was a microcosm of the new India; where the grins of Vijay Mallya coexisted with youthful glamour of Deepika Padukone with Sidharth Mallya in tow, where massive crowds coexisted with massive corruption, where hype, glitter and instant gratification coexisted with frenzied money making. Moreover, a sharply plummeting moral quotient in which cheerleaders commodified their bodies as “”empowerment” and men commodified their conscience as “practicality”. Given that all the dramatis personae of the Spot fixing saga have gone on to lead happy and fulfilling lives, why must only Sreesanth and co. become the scapegoat of the BCCI’s guillotine.If Sreesanth is culpable of any crime, then it’s probably his ungainly dancing on the television show Jhalak Dikhla Ja. Of the rest, he is clean. Sadly, at 32 years of age it looks unlikely that Indian cricket fans will ever get to see those glorious outswingers ever again. However, that should not prevent the BCCI from lifting the hypocritical lifetime ban it has placed on Sreesanth.
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