Sreesanth denies IPL spot-fixing claims

File photo of S Sreesanth bowling Fast bowler S Sreesanth has represented India in many international matches

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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.

Timeline: Cricket in trouble

  • June 2000: South African cricket captain Hansie Cronje admits receiving money for giving information to bookmakers
  • August 2000: South African team-mates Herschelle Gibbs and Henry Williams given six-month bans from international cricket for agreeing to accept money
  • May 2008: West Indies batsman Marlon Samuels banned for two years after being found guilty of breaking rules designed to stop players betting on matches
  • November 2011: Pakistani players Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir banned after being found guilty of involvement in a betting scam
  • February 2012: Former Essex county cricketer Mervyn Westfield serves two months in jail for accepting or obtaining a corrupt payment
  • June 2012: Pakistani bowler Danish Kaneria banned for life from playing in England and Wales after being found guilty of corruption
  • June 2012: Five Indian domestic players banned after a sting by undercover TV reporters purported to show cricketers agreeing to bowl no-balls and spot-fix matches

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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