There is a clear sense of disbelief at personal and team level in KKR at the events that have taken place over the last three days.
To say the least, I am shocked to learn that Sreesanth, my India teammate, is allegedly involved in the most heinous act that a sportsman can commit. But let me tell you I have no sympathies for him or the other two, if they are indeed proven guilty. I hope that investigations are complete sooner than later and there is an exemplary punishment given to all those involved. As I write this column, news is trickling in that Mumbai police have seized his belongings from the team hotel in Mumbai.
It was Thursday morning when I first got this news. I couldn't sleep well as we had lost narrowly to Pune the evening before. One of my KKR teammates called me to inform about the arrest of these three cricketers which I first thought was a rude joke.
I switched on the news channels and saw all hell breaking loose under the tag of "Breaking News". An old clip of Sreesanth, Ankeet Chavan and Ajit Chandila was being played. And I stood in my hotel room in Ranchi in absolute disbelief.
I just couldn't believe it was the same Sreesanth who had the Tri-colour on his India helmet and used to sing national anthem the loudest. At that time, I wished the allegations were all untrue.
For some reason, Sreesanth calls me 'Tiger'. He addressed me with the same name when we met in Jaipur. I was having lunch and he was with his Rajasthan Royals teammates. Typical of him, he came to me and said, "Tiger, aaj maarna mat, aap hamesha mujh ko maartey ho (Tiger, don't hit me for runs today, you always do that)." I smiled and told him to focus on his game.
"Sree, work on your game and try to make a comeback. This year Indian team is going to South Africa, you should aim to make a comeback then."
"Sure Tiger" was his reply and he went away. Little did I know that weeks later I'd read a headline in a business newspaper describing him as "SREE 420".
All three players have let themselves and their RR team-mates down. They've also left the cricketing fraternity, the BCCI and above all their families and their country down.
The great wall
My heart goes out to Rahul Dravid who has manfully fought on this year to help Rajasthan Royals do well.
And to know that there were elements in that dressing room who were conspiring against the team's interests is devastating. I feel sad for the families of all three as they have to bear with the backlash from fans and media. And above all the trio has made India and Indian cricket a laughing stock.
We are in Hyderabad now. Our last game is against the Sunrisers Hyderabad. I know we're out of contention for the playoffs but there will be no shortage on intensity as we'd want to finish on a high. Ryan McLaren, our colleague from South Africa, has returned home. At the moment my thought is to try out some players who haven't got a game but let us see what my other colleagues in the team's selection panel think.
On a personal note, it's be good to finish on a high.
Kaizen Media Solutions.
The writer is the KKR skipper.
Published by HT Syndication with permission from Hindustan Times.