Shouting “Sree Ki Jai ”, hundreds of friends and fans mobbed cricketer Sreesanth as he came out of the Kochi airport after the Air India flight carrying him from Delhi touched down on Wednesday morning.
Crowds waiting since the early hours for the state’s first major international cricketer, now released on bail in the IPL spot- fixing case, rushed to hug and garland him.
Bereft of his usual smile and flamboyance, Sreesanth with folded hands thanked all who supported him.
“There could be conspiracy behind all that happened. But I will talk about it in public only after I am set free. I have no complaints against Delhi or Mumbai Police and have full faith in the judiciary,” said Sreesanth.
When asked if he had links with underworld don Dawood Ibrahim, Sreesanth’s face broke into a smile and he said in Malayalam. “Ente Chetta, njaan onnum parayunnilla (my dear brother, I don’t want to say anything).” Sreesanth was driven from the airport in his white BMW by brother- in- law and playback singer Madhu Balakrishnan to the latter’s residence in Trippunithura, 40 km away on the outskirts of city. Close friends and relatives gave him an emotional reception there.
After a quick breakfast, Sreesanth spoke to mediapersons again. “Thank God I could get back home. I am taking good food after 27 days. I pray that even enemies don’t suffer such an ordeal,” said Sreesanth.
“I know I am suspended by BCCI now. But I am sure I will prove my innocence and get back to cricket. My dream was to play for India on the upcoming South Africa tour but I know I won’t be able to do it. But I am sure I will play in the next World Cup.” He evaded questions about Jiju Janardhan, his alleged accomplice in the case.
“He says he too has not done anything. I don’t know anything more”. Though there was a groundswell of sympathy for Sreesanth in Kerala when he was arrested with prominent persons like Shashi Tharoor coming to his defence, it soon started vanishing with the Delhi Police releasing incriminating information against him. The state government even withdrew an advertisement starring the cricketer promoting the state lottery.
However, the sympathy returned when stringent MCOCA provisions were applied against Sreesanth. However, nobody from Kerala Cricket Association or amongst his friends was seen at the airport or his home. But Sree was in no mood to complain.