India fast bowler S Sreeesanth maintains he is innocent in the spot fixing saga, the Board of Control for Cricket in India's life ban notwithstanding. In a letter to the BCCI, Sreesanth has touched upon the charge relating to him putting a towel in his trouser to signal to bookies that runs would be given away.
In May, the then Delhi Police Commissioner Neeraj Kumar revealed: "In certain overs they (the players) were supposed to give away a certain amount of runs. The bookies gave players instructions that they have to indicate that they would give away these runs. The instructions were 'put the towel in your trousers or take time setting up the field or take out the shirt or the vests that you are wearing'."
In Sreesanth's letter to the BCCI, he said, "There is absolutely no reliable material even to find out a charge of fixing against me. What is relied upon is the alleged conversation between my friend Shri Jiju Janardhanan a fellow cricketer and some others. Shri Jiju Janardhanan is very much familiar with my mannerism and habit in the cricket field as he knows me from the age of 18.
'It's not uncommon'
"It is not uncommon to use a towel in afternoon matches particularly in a place like Mohali in the month of April-May. Enough photographs are there to show that in many of the earlier matches I played, white colour towel had been used by me. In fact even other well known cricketers use white towel as a matter of habit. Even in the very same match towels were used by other players.
Apart from sheer coincidence nothing culpable can be attributed to me by reason of using a towel. The allegation that in the first over no towel was used cannot be correct." The Kerala fast bowler has pointed out that Ravi Sawani, who was appointed by the BCCI to probe the players' alleged involvement in the scandal, has played down the wrong line as it were.
Sreesanth wrote: "Suffice to say that the enquiry officer has not relied upon any material which will bear legal scrutiny even in a court of law. He has relied on media reports, statements of top police officers, newspaper clippings, etc none of which the apex court has held, will be evidence in a court of law, or in any enquiry leading to adverse consequences." Sreesanth may cease to be an India player, but this match is far from over.