The arrest of cricketer S Sreesanth for his alleged role in IPL spot-fixing today came as a big shock to Kerala as he has been the most prominent national player to have emerged form the state in recent years.
If people across the state received the stunning news of the arrest of the Rajasthan Royals player with disbelief initially, as details began to unfold, many felt if he had done wrong it would be seen as a disgrace to his home state.
The rise of the Kochi boy, hailing from a middle class family, to adorn the India cap in 2005 as a 22-year-old came as a boost to cricket in Kerala.
Despite often running into controversies, Sreesanth continued to be seen as a talented player with a capacity to bounce back after suffering setbacks.
But even his most ardent fans now find it difficult to defend him in the issue also involving his two Royals teammates -- Ajit Chadila and Ankeet Chavan.
Though Sreesanth's father Santhakumaran Nair had initially said his son was a victim of conspiracy by India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni and off-spinner Harbhajan Singh, he retracted the statement later and expressed regret.
Nair told television channels he had made the remarks "following some misunderstanding" and on the spur of the moment on hearing the arrest of his son, who, he said, "will not do anything in a wrong manner".
"I seek apology from Dhoni, Harbhajan Singh and people of Kerala," he said hours after Delhi police gave details of the scandal.
The Congress and BSP today criticised the ruling SAD-BJP combine and termed the dispensation as "anti-people, especially anti-poor and ...