Ban on TP Sudhindra to hurt MP Ranji team, even as the bowler regrets his wrongdoing

Just a few months ago, things looked like settling for Taduri Prakash Chandra Sudhindra. The 28-year-old was clearly on a high after finishing as the highest wicket-taker in Ranji Trophy last year and then getting chance to share the dressing room with the likes of Dale Steyn and Kumar Sangakkara during the Indian Premier League. One mistake and it's all over for him. A career which promised a lot ended rather on a disappointing note. The life ban imposed on him by the BCCI for spot-fixing charges is not only a big setback for Sudhindra and his family but also for MP team, which is improving with every year.

Madhya Pradesh coach Mukesh Sahni feels it would be difficult for his team in the next season without Sudhindra. "It's big shoes to fill for any youngster. It's an opportunity for rest of the guys to put their hands up and deliver but it is easier said than done. Sudhindra was surely one of the main reasons MP did very well last year. It's easy to replace a batsman but not a fast bowler and that too somebody like Sudhindra who was always willing to push his limits. He was somebody who could bowl long spells even on flat wickets without giving too many runs," Sahni told Times Of India on Monday.

Shalabh Srivastava, the Uttar Pradesh fast bowler who was banned for five years by the BCCI for conspiring to fix a match, has claimed he is innocent and has not been given justice. Meanwhile, TP Sudhindra, who was banned for life after admitting he took money to bowl a no-ball in a domestic game, will take legal advice ahead of his next step.

The BCCI's disciplinary committee found Srivastava guilty of agreeing, and negotiating terms, to fix a match though no fixing eventually took place. But the player maintains he could not have done so as he did not pay a single game in this year's IPL.

"I still maintain that I am innocent and I have not got justice," Srivastava told the Telegraph. "When I spoke to the BCCI officials, I told them that I have never been involved in any match-fixing. I told them that I haven't even played in this year's IPL… I thought I would get proper justice and won't be punished as I am innocent."

Srivastava, 30, did concede that it was a mistake to be so friendly with people he did not know, but insisted that the subject of match-fixing was never discussed. "I had injured my knee and was recuperating in Lucknow. How could I have negotiated with someone and promise him to fix matches and bowl no-balls?"

Meanwhile as for Sudhindra, he told the Sunday Express: "I regret my wrongdoing." He plans to consult his lawyers about his next step. He said he turned down an offer of Rs. 1 crore (US$ 175,450) during the sting operation despite his family's money problems. He was found guilty of taking Rs. 5,000 to deliver a no-ball in a local game.

"People don't realise the financial state my family was in. I was trapped," he said. "But I did decline an eight-figure offer made by the same people. I will come out with the true story soon. Let me talk to my lawyer first. I don't want another youngster to be trapped like me."

The three other players - Madhya Pradesh batsman Mohnish Mishra, Goa offspinner Amit Yadav and Himachal Pradesh allrounder Abhinav Bali - were given one-year bans for bringing the game into disrepute through "loose talk and unsubstantiated bragging." The punishments took effect from May 15, the date on which the IPL governing council suspended them.