New Delhi : Former India fast bowler S Sreesanth has been included in the 24-member preliminary squad of Kerala for the upcoming Ranji season. The 38-year-old is making a return to red-ball cricket after a gap of nearly nine years. Sreesanth last played a first-class match in 2013 when he was featured in the Irani Cup for the Rest of India against Mumbai.After serving a seven-year suspension for his alleged involvement in the 2013 IPL spot-fixing scam, the veteran pacer was elated after getting a place in the preliminary squad for Kerala.Sreesanth shared the news on Twitter on Sunday, saying, “Feels great to be back after 9 years playing Ranji trophy for my lovely state really grateful to each and every one of u, lots of love and respect.”In 2013, Sreesanth was allegedly involved in the IPL spot-fixing scandal where he was arrested by Delhi Police along with Ajit Chandila and Ankit Chavan.
Sreesanth was accused of spot-fixing during the seventh season of the IPL but he was relieved of all the charges due to lack of evidence and his ban was ended on September 13, 2020.Meanwhile, Sachin Baby will lead the Kerala side in Ranji Trophy this season while wicketkeeper-batter Vishnu Vinod will be Sachin’s deputy. Sanju Samson had captained Kerala in the Syed Mushtaq Ali and Vijay Hazare Trophy one-day competition, but Kerala fell in the quarter-finals.Robin Uthappa, who is yet to regain his fitness, has not been included in the probable list. Varun Nayanar is the second stumper, while Mohammad Azharuddeen has been overlooked. The preliminary camp will be held in Wayanad from December 30.Kerala are included in Elite Group B along with Bengal, Vidarbha, Rajasthan, Haryana, and Tripura.