The rise and fall of Sreesanth
Things, at the moment, appear bleak for fast bowler S. Sreesanth, one of the most colourful personalities in Kerala, who shot into prominence by becoming only the second person from the state to represent India in cricket.
Ever since the news of the arrest of Sreesanth and two other fellow Rajasthan Royals players over spot-fixing broke, it came as a shock to the cricket-loving fraternity in the state and not to mention his family.
Sreesanth made his debut against Sri Lanka in a One-Day International played at Nagpur Oct 25, 2005, at the age of 22. With aggression his forte, he soon came to be known as the 'angry young cricketer' and rubbed shoulders with many including Australian all-rounder Andrew Symonds and also Harbajan Singh, to name a few.
He then went on to be a part of the Indian team which first won the World Twenty20 in 2007 and then the 50-over World Cup in 2011. Many consider that luck was in his favour right from his being selected in the India squad, which became a reality when S.K. Nair, a Keralite, was the secretary of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).
With a hyper-active personality, hitting headlines was child's play for him. He also had problems with Kerala cricket administrators and, at one point of time, there was speculation that Sreesanth could leave Kerala and play for some other state.
T.C. Mathew, Kerala Cricket Association (KCA) secretary was one person with whom Sreesanth had problems and the two had serious differences in opinion on many an occasion.
"It's most unfortunate to hear what we are hearing now about Sreesanth," Mathew told IANS.
Incidentally Sreesanth's on-and-off field antics also did not go down well with many Keralites and soon there was a flood of jokes based on Sreesanth.
With his popularity graph on the rise, many filmmakers also made a bee line to rope in the pacer and superstar Mammootty together. Mammootty was asked if he was going to act with Sreesanth and pat came the reply: "It's like this, he is acting with me and not vice-versa."
Sreesanth is yet to act in a film, even though there were reports he had been signed. And at times his name was also linked with the film industry and the latest that was being heard was that he was going to get married in September this year, but the identity of the lady is yet to be made public.
Injuries also plagued Sreesanth and his late Wednesday night arrest comes at a time when he was of the firm belief that he would be selected to tour South Africa.
Sreesanth till date has represented the country in 27 Tests (87 wickets), 53 ODIs (75) and 10 T20Is (seven wickets).
With TV channels airing the spot-fixing charges from Thursday morning on, the home of Sreesanth here, which has always been a crowded one, was Thursday silent with his family preferring to speak over phone only.
"I am sure my son will do no wrong," said his mother.
And now with reports of this scandal involving Sreesanth's close friend, a bookie who has also been arrested by the police, it is going to be a bit tough for Sreesanth, with the BCCI getting into the act and having suspended the three players.