Sreesanth has been in the news for wrong reasons of late. He is the BJP candidate in Trivandrum for the upcoming state assembly elections in Kerala. He is only starting to find his feet in politics, so opposition parties take this as an opportunity and they exploit Sreesanth’s inexperience as a politician.
Before getting into politics, Sreesanth has seen it all, from a promising fast bowler to match fixing allegation and finally being proven innocent by the court. It has been a dramatic story altogether.
We present you ‘The Sreesanth story’.
Challenger Trophy, October 2005 and ODI call up
2005 Challenger Trophy was the turning point for the right arm medium fast bowler. He was awarded the Man-of-the-Series for his bowling prowess as he claimed 7 wickets in the series.
The performance impressed selectors and they rewarded him by giving an ODI call-up. In his debut against Sri Lanka, he got two wickets.
Success in Test cricket
The world remembers Sreesanth as a Test bowler than an ODI bowler. He had done really well in the longest format of the game. In the 27 matches he played for India, he claimed 87 wickets with three 5 wicket haul.
In 2006, India travelled South Africa and were thrashed by the hosts in the one-dayers by 4-0. The Proteas were aiming a kill in the Test series but the Kerala speedster had other ideas.
By virtue of his ruthless bowling, Sreesanth dismissed South Africa for a mere 84 runs in the first innings. He picked up 5 opposition wickets by giving only 40 runs.
He was excellent in the second innings also and bagged 3 wickets. With the help of Sreesanth’s heroics, India won the match by 123 runs and it was the first Test win for India on South African soil.
Sledging by Andre Nel and answers with a six
Andre Nel is famous for his sledging against opposition. He came after against the right-hander with his usual mind games, but Sreesanth came down the track and smashed him over the ropes and started dancing. That is Sreesanth for you, he always come up with different reactions.
He later disclosed what actually happened. He said, “As soon as I walked into bat, Nel said, ‘I can smell blood. You do not have the guts.’ Showing his emblem on the shirt, Nel said, ‘I am playing for this. You are a scared fellow, rabbit. I will get you next ball’.
“Before delivering the next ball, Nel had also asked Mark Boucher to stay back and had also moved the short leg fielder. I being a fast bowler myself, knew Nel was going to bowl a bouncer. I just took my chance and prayed to God. I stepped out to connect the ball which flew over the ropes.”
2007 T20 World Cup
In the semifinal against Australia, Sreesanth was at his best and dismissed both Aussies openers Adam Gilchrist and Mathew Hayden for just 12 runs in four overs.
Who forgets the catch of Misbah ul Haq by Sreesanth in the 2007 T20 World Cup final? Pakistan were well on course for winning the inaugural twenty-twenty World Cup as they needed only 6 runs from four balls and Misbah’s confidence was sky high after hitting the second ball of the over for a six.
The overconfidence did the current Pakistan Test team captain as he tried to scoop the very next ball over fine leg only to be caught by Sreesanth and by means of that Dhoni’s men emerged as T20 champions.
Harbhajan Singh slapping incident in the IPL 2008
On 25 April 2008, following the victory of his Kings XI Punjab’s victory in the IPL over the Mumbai Indians at Mohali, Sreesanth was slapped under his eye by Harbhajan Singh, the then captain of Mumbai. The Kings XI Punjab bowler was seen as weeping like a child.
Because of the incident, Harbhajan Singh was banned from the remainder of IPL and for 5 ODIs.
The match fixing allegation has made Sreesanth a villain image but he was really confident about the court verdict and he was proven innocent by the Delhi court.
Even after the acquittal from the court, BCCI didn’t withdraw the ban on him. He still says, he will be back in the game but the chances of Sreesanth playing for India similar to Kevin Pieterson donning England colours. The door is almost shut.