NEW DELHI Indian cricketer Shanthakumaran Sreesanth has insisted he is innocent of any wrongdoing in the ongoing spot-fixing scandal and is confident of emerging from the "tough period" with his dignity intact.
The 30-year-old bowler was one of three players, along with 11 bookmakers, arrested last week on suspicion of spot-fixing in the Indian Premier League (IPL) Twenty20 competition, the allegations also earning him an immediate suspension from the cricket board.
"I am innocent and have done no wrong. I have never indulged in any spot-fixing and I have always played cricket in the spirit of the game," the paceman said in a statement issued late on Tuesday through his lawyer.
"As a cricketer, I have learnt to take knocks along with accolades in my stride. I recognise that I am going through a tough period in my life.
"I have utmost faith in our judicial process and I am confident that with time, I will be proved innocent and my honour and dignity will be vindicated and restored," said the cricketer, who played the last of his 27 tests against England at The Oval in August 2011.
Sreesanth, who is from the south Indian state of Kerala and represented IPL's Rajasthan franchise this season, has been accused of taking money to concede a fixed number of runs in one of his overs during a May 9 match against Kings XI Punjab.
Legal sports betting in India is confined to horse racing, while illegal gambling syndicates thrive in the absence of a law dealing specifically with such corruption in sport.
Media estimates put the amount gambled on India's top Twenty20 competition at $427 million in 2009.
India's film industry has also been pulled into the controversy when Mumbai Police arrested a Bollywood actor, Vindu Dara Singh, on Tuesday for alleged links to a bookmaker.
(Editing by John O'Brien)