Siddharth Trivedi is one of the Rajasthan Royals cricketers slapped with a ban by the BCCI in connection with the IPL spot-fixing case. Speaking to Wisden India a day after the BCCI judgment, Trivedi sounded moderately upbeat and vowed to come back a better bowler when the ban is lifted next year. Excerpts:
Question. Tell us about the meeting with the BCCI Disciplinary Committee in Delhi.
Answer. They asked me some questions which I answered. I was sent a summons earlier, which said that I was guilty of not reporting an approach by a bookie. So they asked me about that and I said what I had to.
Q. Is it true that you had failed to report an approach?
A. Yes, but it's not as simple as that. I will tell you the same thing that I told the BCCI. See, the scandal broke this year and both you and I saw the details on TV together. That's when we found out what was going on. The people who were involved, especially Ajit (Chandila), have been my teammates at Rajasthan Royals. He was playing for Royals, he was playing Ranji Trophy cricket. We didn't know what he was doing outside of that.
Last year, I was introduced to cousins and brothers and relatives of these cricketers and I met them. There was no question of reporting anything. They were caught this year and that's when we found out what they were doing.
I know you, and if you introduce me to someone, I will say 'hello' to them. If they turn out to be a bookie a year later, it's not my fault. I hadn't agreed to anything anyway.
Q. Whose relatives are you talking about?
A. Ajit's. Ajit was a teammate. He introduced me to people so I met them. We chatted. Face to face. No offer was made and nothing was agreed on.
Q. But reports claim you accepted money from bookies, only to return it later, and that you told Ravi Sawani this.
A. No, no, not at all. Where is the question of accepting money if I don't even know the people I am meeting are bookies? I have been banned for just one year, and that is for not reporting an approach. That's all.
Q. And you communicated this to the police as well as the BCCI?
A. Yes. In fact, it was before the IPL last year, not during it. So who should I report to? And what should I tell them, that I met some people? They didn't make an offer, so there was nothing to report. It's only this year that we all found out what they were up to.
Q. We'd heard that you had offered to be an approver and help the BCCI with the investigations.
A. Soon after the arrests were made, someone from the BCCI called me and said that Delhi Police wanted to speak to me and asked me whether I would cooperate. I was happy to cooperate. And I told them the same things. The problem is that when I met the people, they were not bookies. They were being counted as bookies this year.
Q. What do you make of the one-year ban slapped on you?
A. I will not blame BCCI. They are right. I am also right. I think the things were not placed in the right place at the right time. They have done what they had to do within their guidelines. I respect that decision. There's nothing I can do about it, but I will stick to my stance that I have never done any cheating.
Q. Have you spoken to the Rajasthan Royals authorities after the ban?
A. I spoke to them last night. They expressed sympathy. They knew I was honest and that's why I was part of their team for the Champions League Twenty20. They were shocked that I won't play. They are depressed. But I will come back much, much stronger next year.
Q. What's the plan for the next one year now?
A. I am back at home in Ahmedabad and I will go back to my training. Everyone who knows me knows that I am innocent. I have played honestly for the past 13 years and I have been one of the top performers for Rajasthan Royals for six years in the IPL. People who know me know how much I have struggled. Everything that I am today is because of cricket. Not just me, even my father (Kishore Trivedi) was a Ranji Trophy cricketer and got a job in a bank because of cricket. I have a job with Air India because of cricket. I have not cheated anyone - my friends, family, my franchise or the BCCI. So I will train now and make up for the lost year when I get a chance next year.