Shanthakumaran Sreesanth famously known as S. Sreesanth, his cricketing career can be described as a roller-coaster ride. From making headlines across India following his run-in with master blaster Sachin Tendular to the curtains closing in on his international career after the 2013 Indian Premier League (IPL) spot-fixing scandal, Sreesanth’s career can be a Bollywood box-office hit. An Indian fast bowler who bowled some magical deliveries and match-winning spells, a member of two world cup winning squads, the man could make the all-time greats doubt their ability to play fast bowling, it is the world of Shanthakumaran Sreesanth- where controversies and distractions overshadow his amazing talent. However, the life ban handed by the BCCI for his role in 2013 IPL spot-fixing case was the final nail in the coffin for his cricketing aspirations. Sreesanth was indeed a massive loss for Indian cricket.
During his initial days cricket was more about leg spin bowling than fast bowling. He in fact modelled his action on India’s highest Test wicket taker and former Team India head coach Anil Kumble. But his ability to bowl yorkers was noticed by his brother who then advised him to take up fast bowling.
Talking about Sreesanth will instantly remind you of his celebrations, the famous one’s being letting Aussie Andrew Symonds know who is the boss, in an ODI in India when the pacer caught and bowled Symonds. It is indeed hard to forget the man who was overawed by Andre Nel and he responded by a six over the bowler’s head the very next bowl. Although he always wanted to live life king size, he was forgiven many times because he could bowl unplayable deliveries. One can never forget his spell of 5 for 40 against South Africa in Johannesburg and especially his delivery to get rid of Hashim Amla was an absolute beauty. Even the critiques could not find any flaw in that wonderful exhibition of fast bowling. It was said, at least then, that India had finally found a fast bowling gem.
Sreesanth’s career had a peculiar graph, high followed by a low then another high and amidst of course his favourite C-word controversy. He was involved in another one of those when he was allegedly slapped by Harbhajan Singh in an IPL Match. Sreesanth cried like a baby and some even criticised him for his immature behaviour. It was in the IPL that Sreesath has experienced the most infamous moments of his career. And the most worst was the IPL spot-fixing scandal. When he was named as one of the accused along with Rajasthan Royals team-mates Ankeet Chavan and Ajit Chandila in an investigation by the Delhi Police.
Even if he gets cleared, there is no guarantee that he will get selected in the IPL auction that takes place in few months before the cash-rich tournament. His chances of getting picked will depend heavily on how he fares in the domestic level, should he get the clearance from the BCCI. But, the BCCI refused to budge from their stance, and continued to impose the ban on the fast bowler.
Sreesanth only earned 27 Test caps and 87 wickets, but the big question still remains what if Sreesanth had only focused on bowling his beautiful conventional out swingers, with his upright seam and perfect wrist position which would make any fast bowler envious, without any distractions. Maybe someday if he introspects, he would believe that he owed a lot to this country. Because he was born in a country where fast bowling swing bowlers are a rarity, he could have even made it to the list of all-time greats, who knows.
For those of us who have followed his cricketing career, we know he wasn’t made for all this. But Sreesanth is still doing what he did back in his cricketing career, living his life on his own terms, responding via larger than life reactions, and loving his theatrics and dancing skills.