India

Sreesanth denies IPL spot-fixing claims

  • 22 May 2013
  • From the section India
File photo of S Sreesanth bowling
Image caption Fast bowler S Sreesanth has represented India in many international matches

Indian fast bowler S Sreesanth, arrested last week over allegations of spot-fixing in the Indian Premier League, has insisted he is innocent.

"I've never indulged in any spot-fixing and have always played cricket in the spirit of the game," he said in a statement released through his lawyer.

It is his first statement since the allegations surfaced.

Sreesanth was arrested last week with Ajit Chandila and Ankeet Chavan, fellow bowlers from the Rajasthan Royals team.

On Tuesday, a court extended their custody for five more days.

Spot-fixing involves illegally rigging parts of a match, for example by timing the delivery of a deliberate wide or no-ball, to benefit bookmakers or those betting on matches.

The families of the three cricketers say they are innocent. Last week Sreesanth's lawyer said the allegations were baseless.

The players have been suspended by India's cricket board and the Rajasthan Royals.

The Rajasthan Royals team are owned by Bollywood actress Shilpa Shetty and her businessman husband Raj Kundra. They are captained by legendary Indian batsman Rahul Dravid.

'Tough period'

"I am innocent and have done no wrong," Sreesanth, the most high-profile among the arrested men, said in his statement on Tuesday night.

The cricketer has represented India in 27 Tests and 53 one-day internationals.

"As a cricketer, I have learnt to take knocks along with accolades, in my stride. I recognise that I am going through a tough period in my life," the statement read.

The cricketer said he had "utmost faith in our judicial process and I am confident that with time I will be proved innocent, and my honour and dignity will be vindicated and restored".

Police say the players used codes like "rotating their watches" and "putting towels in their pants". Other ways of communicating with the bookmakers included taking out lockets from their shirts, or making signs with their clothes, police said.

More than a dozen bookmakers have also been arrested in connection with the spot-fixing inquiry.

On Tuesday, Mumbai police arrested actor Vindoo Randhawa, the first Bollywood personality to be arrested in connection with the scandal. Mr Randhawa, who won series three of Bigg Boss - India's version of the television show Big Brother - has made no public comment yet.

The sixth season of the IPL, which is considered to be the world's showcase for Twenty20 cricket, is currently under way in India.

Top Indian and international players are taking part, contributing to what is the world's richest cricket tournament.

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