BCCI ombudsman DK Jain has ordered for S Sreesanth's spot-fixing ban to be reduced to a seven-year suspension, meaning the fast bowler will be eligible to play from September 2020. Jain's order comes months after the Supreme Court had set aside Sreesanth's life ban in March this year, asking the BCCI to consider a fresh punishment for the former India pacer, who already has served six years away from the game.
In an order passed by Jain on August 7, the BCCI ombudsman has argued that Sreesanth's hay days as a fast bowler "may already be over" and that the "ends of justice" would be met if he's allowed to play next year, having served seven years on the sidelines.
"... I am of the view that banning Mr. Sreesanth from participating in any kind of commercial Cricket or from associating with any activities of the BCCI or its affiliates, for a period of seven years with effect from 13.09.2013, i.e. the date from which, the period of ban imposed by the Disciplinary Committee had commenced, will meet the ends of justice," Jain said in the order.
In March this year, while the BCCI had argued that the ban imposed on Sreesanth was "fully sustainable in law", Salman Khurshid, the cricketer's lawyer, told the two-member bench - comprising of Justices Ashoka Bhushan and KM Joseph - that the only fault the pacer had committed was to not disclose the wrongdoings to the board.
"Life ban given to Mohammed Azharuddin (former India captain) was overturned. Pakistan's Salim Malik got a life ban but it was overturned. Hansie Cronje was given life ban but he died in a plane crash when proceedings were not closed," Khurshid had argued.
"If at all he is guilty of anything, it is for failure to disclose about fixing, etc, despite having knowledge. That will make him guilty only of the least punishable offense. There is nothing on record to warrant a lifetime ban."
The Supreme Court's directive to BCCI's disciplinary committee was what cleared the decks for Sreesanth's return. The last he played for India was in 2011, with his last appearance in IPL coming in 2013.