An aggressive fast bowler by profession, Sreesanth, recently returned to the cricket field following the lifting of his ban. Over the course of his career, Sreesanth has been involved in multiple on-field controversies. He was hard hit by spot-fixing scandal in the middle of a flailing career, got banned for life, then married a princess. After being exonerated by the courts, he now dreams of playing in 2019 World Cup. We could be forgiven for thinking this is a blockbuster Bollywood script.
Indian cricket’s controversial superstar Sreesanth, who was exonerated by the courts in the spot-fixing case, might be on the verge of joining mainstream cricket once again. But, even after the verdict, Sreesanth’s problems do not seem to be over. BCCI has made it clear that ban imposed by its disciplinary committee on S Sreesanth unchanged. But whether he is allowed to play or not, one thing is clear, Sreesanth and controversy go hand in hand. His career was full of events that grabbed headlines, usually for all the wrong reasons. Here are six major controversies that Sreesanth was part of.
Challenging the Master
During the Challenger Trophy match in Mohali in 2005, Sreesanth dared Sachin Tendulkar. He took Sachin’s wicket in the same game and broke into wild celebrations much to little Master Blaster’s amusement. This is how Sreesanth made his mark on Indian cricket.
First brush with the code of the Gentleman’s Game
During India’s tour of South Africa in 2006, Sreesanth was fined 30% of his match fees for showing a lack of respect towards batsman Hashim Amla after his dismissal. And in 2007, during the tour of England, he was fined half of his match fee after shoving his shoulder into opposition skipper Michael Vaughan. In the same match, he bowled a beamer to Kevin Pietersen which prompted many to question his aggressive tactics. Still, India had confidence in the youngster, with hopes of his game maturing as he played more cricket.
Spat with Symonds
Sreesanth was the talk of the cricketing world again in 2007 when India were touring Australia. He got into a confrontation with Andrew Symonds after seemingly clapping on his face upon his dismissal. He was also alleged to have hurled insults at other players during the rest of the series. Sreesanth later denied he had tried to mock Symonds. During that tour, Sreesanth and Symonds had already had a couple of spats but Sreesanth took this one to another level.
The Indian Premier League’s (IPL) inaugural season witnessed Harbhajan Singh slap Sreesanth after a Kings XI Punjab vs Mumbai Indians match, which left a usually angry Sreesanth in tears. Harbhajan was fined and banned from the rest of the tournament, while Sreesanth was let off with a warning after disciplinary proceedings. This event keeps resurfacing almost every time Sreesanth is in the middle of a controversy.
IPL Spot fixing
After struggling to calibrate his aggression on the field, Sreesanth and two other players were arrested in 2013 on the suspicion of spot-fixing in the IPL tournament. Police charged three of them with taking money to concede a pre-determined number of runs in three different IPL matches. Though all three bowlers of Rajasthan Royals denied any wrong doings, they were, however, suspended by BCCI and the IPL team. The Delhi Police tried to keep the players in jail, alleging they had a “nexus” with an “organised crime syndicate”. Sreesanth was later banned for life on spot-fixing charges. His first innings in life had just come to a grinding halt.
Caused a flight delay
A co-passenger in Bangalore-Delhi flight alleged Sreesanth of ‘boorish behaviour’ on board the aircraft. Sreesanth got into a childish argument with flight attendants when he was asked not to sit near the emergency exit. Other passengers objected to Sreesanth’s behaviour which led to delay in a take-off of the flight. However, Sreesanth denied the allegations and said he hardly had any conversation with the passenger and he knew how to behave in public.