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July 2, 2012
Shalabh Srivastava, the Uttar Pradesh fast bowler who was banned for five years by the BCCI for conspiring to fix a match, has claimed he is innocent and has not been given justice. Meanwhile, TP Sudhindra, who was banned for life after admitting he took money to bowl a no-ball in a domestic game, will take legal advice ahead of his next step.
The BCCI's disciplinary committee found Srivastava guilty of agreeing, and negotiating terms, to fix a match though no fixing eventually took place. But the player maintains he could not have done so as he did not pay a single game in this year's IPL.
"I still maintain that I am innocent and I have not got justice," Srivastava told the Telegraph. "When I spoke to the BCCI officials, I told them that I have never been involved in any match-fixing. I told them that I haven't even played in this year's IPL… I thought I would get proper justice and won't be punished as I am innocent."
Srivastava, 30, did concede that it was a mistake to be so friendly with people he did not know, but insisted that the subject of match-fixing was never discussed. "I had injured my knee and was recuperating in Lucknow. How could I have negotiated with someone and promise him to fix matches and bowl no-balls?"
At this stage, however, he has not considered appealing against his ban. "I don't know what to do now that I have been banned for five years. Maybe some sort of divine intervention would help me and that's why I have come to seek Sai Baba's blessings [in Shirdi]."
As for Sudhindra, he told the Sunday Express: "I regret my wrongdoing." He plans to consult his lawyers about his next step. He said he turned down an offer of Rs 1 crore (US$ 175,450) during the sting operation despite his family's money problems. He was found guilty of taking Rs 5,000 to deliver a no-ball in a local game.
"People don't realise the financial state my family was in. I was trapped," he said. "But I did decline an eight-figure offer made by the same people. I will come out with the true story soon. Let me talk to my lawyer first. I don't want another youngster to be trapped like me."
Sudhindra and Srivastava are two of the five Indian domestic players to be banned by the disciplinary committee. The BCCI announced the penalties on June 30 after studying a report on the allegations, which had arisen in May after an India TV sting that alluded to the five being involved in match-fixing and negotiating for extra - and illegal - pay.
The three other players - Madhya Pradesh batsman Mohnish Mishra, Goa offspinner Amit Yadav and Himachal Pradesh allrounder Abhinav Bali - were given one-year bans for bringing the game into disrepute through "loose talk and unsubstantiated bragging." The punishments took effect from May 15, the date on which the IPL governing council suspended them.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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