Sreesanth vows to fight back

Cricket Personality


Sreesanth

S Sreesanth has everything a fast bowler would cherish -- pace, swing and oodles of god-given talent. Temperament, however, did not figure among them as controversies soon overlapped the number of his wickets and epitaphs were quickly written for his career.

The break from international cricket, owing to injury, came at the right time for Sreesanth as the Kerala pacer got some time to reflect on the past and the road ahead. Credit to Sreesanth, then, for realising that he could have done things differently, and more credit for being ready to take a fresh look at life. At 26, Sreesanth says, he is ready to take the path of transformation.

“I realised that life is not a movie and you don’t have take 1, take 2 and take 3. Now I treat my life very very seriously,” he told Deccan Herald.

A visit to the nets of Kerala team, here to participate in the KSCA All-India Invitation tournament, will vouch for the change. He was no more a super star, just one among the 15 members of the team as he mingled with his colleagues freely, pepping them up with a pat or a shout of encouragement. “When you are in spotlight, which is part and parcel of cricket, and when you behave like a super star you tend to forget who you are. People who do not know me might say I am full of attitude and arrogance, but in reality I am someone who like to help others and see others happy,” he says.

But he had to pay a big price to learn the lesson. The highs of Jamaica and Johannesburg, where he had played key roles in Test wins against the West Indies and South Africa respectively, and the T20 World Cup triumph in 2007 might have swept him off his feet. The open expression of emotions on the field too added to the talk ‘Sreesanth-is-just-a-showman.’

Last appearance

His last appearance for India was against South Africa in the third Test at Kanpur in early 2008, and after that he fell on the slippery paths of oblivion due to a spate of injuries.

The emergence of other contenders too made things tough for him.

“There have been a lot of controversies in my career. Except the slap-gate incident involving Bhajji, which happened in the heat of the moment, the rest of them, like the one at a friend’s party and the hotel issue.. I should say they were the result of my carelessness and things should have been dealt with differently.

“There is no shame in saying that I was a new guy to the new world, I am not saying this as an excuse, and a lot of things come along with it. I paid the price of getting carried away. Emotions come often in your life, but I have taught myself to keep them under control.”

Sreesanth said rewinding his mind to the interactions he had with the stalwarts of Indian cricket helped in his mending. “I am fortunate to have interacted with great cricketers like (Rahul) Dravid, (Sachin) Tendulkar and (Sourav) Ganguly, and that is one of the ways to tell yourself where you stand. The best way to remain positive in tough times is to remember those things and keep reminding yourself about your priorities.”

Now, Sreesanth has received a lead that can push his career back on track. The chance to play for Warwickshire and the presence of pace great Allan Donald, bowling coach of the English county, can help him polish his skills. “Bowling in English conditions can help my kind of bowling a lot, especially my seam position. Allan Donald is my favourite bowler.

In fact, I ran from team bus to take a photo with him during the 2006 series. I got a few tips from him then and they were useful, and I can’t wait to work with him at the nets.”

Importantly, Sreesanth knows the importance of cashing in on this chance. “I really miss out being on the field. I am a person who loves to be out of my comfort zone to achieve my dreams, hopefully I can do it.”

Hopefully, he will not blink his eyes once he returns to stand under the limelight.

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