'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