In what can be seen as a huge boost for India pacer S. Sreesanth, the Kerala Cricket Association (KCA) has decided to consider him for selection in their Ranji team once his ban ends in September. But, the pacer has to prove his fitness first.
"The KCA has decided that he will be considered for selection once his ban ends in September," newly appointed Kerala Ranji coach Tinu Yohannan confirmed to IANS.
"However, his selection into the team will depend on his fitness levels. He has to prove his fitness. Right now, nothing is happening outdoors in terms of cricket activities. Unless we go out on the field and see him play, test his fitness, its difficult to say at the moment," he added.
Yohannan, who himself represented India in three Tests and as many ODIs, further said that Sreesanth will be provided with all the encouragement and support to make his comeback on the cricket field.
"We all want him to play again and will welcome him into the team.
"He doesn't have to prove anything now because he has already proven and showed what he is capable off. We will be providing him with all the encouragement and support so that he can play the game again and enjoy it.
"It will be after seven years that he would be playing. So we will have to wait and see how it goes," the 41-year-old added.
Sreesanth, however, when contacted by IANS, said he was training.
The BCCI had banned Sreesanth for life in August 2013 for his alleged involvement in the spot-fixing scandal that rocked the 2013 Indian Premier League. In 2015, however, a special court in Delhi acquitted him of all charges.
In 2018, the Kerala High Court had struck down the life ban imposed on the cricketer by the BCCI and also quashed all proceedings against him. However, a division bench of the High Court restored the ban.
Sreesanth then moved the Supreme Court against the order. And last year in March, the apex court upheld his guilt but asked the BCCI to reduce his quantum of punishment. The cricket board then reduced his life ban to seven years which will come to an end in August this year.
Sreesanth, 37, has so far played 27 Tests, 53 ODIs and 10 T20Is in which he scalped 87, 75 and 7 wickets respectively.