India news September 13, 2013

'I'm happy the truth has come out' - Harmeet

The BCCI disciplinary committee's decision to exonerate Harmeet Singh of wrongdoing in the IPL spot-fixing controversy has come as a "huge relief" for the Mumbai left-arm spinner who turned 21 last week.

"Obviously it's a huge relief," Harmeet told ESPNcricinfo from Delhi. "More importantly, I am happy that the truth has come out. I had always maintained that I have had no role to play in all these activities. And I am thankful to the disciplinary committee for taking my honest stance into consideration."

Harmeet, who had appeared before Delhi Police in July after his name was dragged into the spot-fixing controversy by a bookie who was arrested, said Friday's hearing was "easy and comfortable". "There was no pressure on to say things. They knew my version [as per Sawani's report] but just wanted to get some of the things clarified."

After having impressed the likes of Ian Chappell during India's triumphant Under-19 World Cup campaign in 2012, Harmeet has been in the news for unwanted reasons over the past three months, something that he describes as a "bad phase". However, at no point did he let his circumstance get the better of him, Harmeet said: "I have not stopped training even for one day, ever since I came back [to Mumbai] after giving my statement to the police. I know the only thing that would help people forget this episode is once I start performing on the field, and I am ready for that."

The spot-fixing episode had also left Harmeet in danger of missing out on the domestic season. Following his inability to break into Mumbai's Ranji squad last season, Harmeet had sought an NOC during the off-season from the Mumbai Cricket Association after being approached by the Vidarbha Cricket Association. However, VCA decided to put their offer on hold once media reports indicating Harmeet's alleged links with the spot-fixing scandal appeared.

Now, Harmeet said the MCA welcomed him "back into the fold" and he was "looking forward to working hard for a month and a half and being a regular in Mumbai's team". It won't be surprising if Harmeet replaces Ankeet Chavan - his Mumbai senior who was the team's leading spinner last year but was banned for life on Friday for spot-fixing - as the side's primary spin option in the forthcoming domestic season.

Amol Karhadkar is a correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Aditya on September 14, 2013, 10:42 GMT

    huge relief!! was wondering where this guy was - from whatever was on display in the under 19 WC, Harmeet has every chance of making into Team India

  • Nagesh on September 14, 2013, 7:02 GMT

    Its indeed confusing. Although "@ali14pakistani" is correct in his assumption, Harmeet was indeed over 19 years (in fact he was 19 years and 303 days) at the time when he played the U-19 world cup (in Aug 2012). So were most of the other players from the other teams as well. To clear the confusion: ICC requests from all Boards for a prelim list of 35 individuals (sometimes this list goes over 50 players) to be pre-registered as "likely players to represent in the world cup", a year in advance. The age of the player, at that moment, is used as the entry-qualification. This made Harmeet 18 years and 303 days. Of course, if a player happens to be "not" on that prelim list and later qualifies to represent his team, he must then certainly, on-record, be under-19 (so 18 years and 364 days or less)

  • Aditya on September 14, 2013, 6:44 GMT

    @ali14pakistani Firstly, his name isn't Gurmeet. It's Harmeet. Secondly, you will have to check the rules for the tournament with respect to his qualification for the U-19 World Cup in 2012. I would imagine that if his age is published as it is then the ICC would not make such an oversight.

  • Sumit on September 14, 2013, 6:14 GMT

    @ali14pakistani world cup was organised before september 2012 so he was still 19 back then

  • Ian on September 14, 2013, 6:11 GMT

    @ ali14pakistani:

    Turned 21 last week, therefore 20 for more than half of 2013. Therefore turned 20 last year, so 19 for more than half of 2012.

    So, mathematically, it works for a significant part of the year.

    Also (and probably more significant in this) agegroup sport is usually arranged on a "was aged x years or less on or before date y" basis. It has to be, otherwise there'd be no team/squad stability, and players would be forced out of a competition before it was finished.

  • ali on September 13, 2013, 21:14 GMT

    Strange Gurmeet turned 21 last week, but played for under 19 in 2012, how? So he was overage?