Kochi: In just 24 hours of S. Sreesanth's arrest for spot-fixing, the initial shock and allround disbelief has gone out of the window and more and more people in his home state appear to be turning away from the temperamental fast bowler.
By late Thursday evening, angry people got together at a few places in his home town here and burnt his pictures. They felt Sreesanth had cheated them even after they treated him as a superstar.
Early Friday morning, the main point of discussion at a ground which Sreesanth as a budding player frequented was about the controversial cricketer.
"First, we could not believe if this was true, but by evening after the press conference of the Delhi Police, it was clear that Sreesanth is guilty," said a footballer.
A budding cricketer said that initially it appeared Sreesanth was innocent and that because of his volatile behaviour he fell prey to trouble-makers.
"Now things appear different and the benefit of doubt is not going to be there for him with clear cut evidence Delhi police have obtained against him. If he is guilty, he should be punished," said the young cricketer.
Chief Minister Oommen Chandy played with a straight bat when faced with the Sreesanth issue and said it was unfortunate that Sreesanth's name had come up in the scandal.
"Sreesanth was the pride of our state and if he comes out clean out of the investigation, then it would be good news for Kerala," said Chandy.
Sreesanth's father also got it all wrong when he slammed Indian captain M.S. Dhoni and Harbhajan Singh for his son's ordeal. He, however, quickly retracted what he said and tendered an apology to the India cricketers, explaining that his outburst was out of distress.
In the Kerala capital city, from where teenage sensation Sanju Samson hails, Sreesanth's act has caused anguish. Incidentally, Sanju also was bought by Sreesanth's IPL team Rajasthan Royals.
Speaking to IANS, Sanju Samson's father, a former Delhi Police constable who took voluntary retirement for promoting his two sons' cricketing ambitions, is crestfallen after hearing the news on Sreesanth.
"From yesterday morning, I was praying that the news on Sreesanth should not be true but when I saw the press conference conducted by Delhi Police, which is my former employer, I knew that Sreesanth was in trouble," said Sanju's father Samson Viswanath.
"When the news first appeared on TV, I called my son and told him that from now on he should not pick calls from unknown numbers and not go for parties. I have taught both my sons that if character is lost, everything is lost forever. Please understand my son is just 18 years old and I have told him to be very careful," said the senior Samson.
Sreesanth's counsel Deepak Prakash said to reporters in Delhi that Sreesanth was innocent and he had started to move a bail application.
"There is a lot of contradiction in the Delhi Police statements. What they first said at the press conference and what they said when they appeared in the court, they have said different things. There was no evidence against Sreesanth, which was put up in the court yesterday by Delhi Police," said Prakash.
Sreesanth's family has left for Delhi and they are expected to meet him along with his counsel later Friday evening.
"No, he will never do such a thing," said his brother Dipu Santhan.
Sreesanth, who is only the second Keralite to represent the country, has played in 27 Tests (87 wickets), 53 ODIs (75) and 10 T20Is (seven wickets).