WITH the enormous talent that he possessed, India’s former fast bowler Shanthakumaran Sreesanth should certainly have gone places. When you talk about him, the first image that should come into the mind of an avid cricket fan is that of an airborne Jacques Kallis looking to evade a bouncer during the 2010 Durban Test.
When you rewind further, the catch that he took to dismiss Pakistan’s Misbah-ul-Haq in the final of 2007 Twenty20 World Cup to signal India’s win should also rank right there at the top. So do his theatrics after clobbering Andre Nel for a six during the 2006 Johannesburg Test.
Fast forward to May, 2013, and all that pops up in the mind is that of him being arrested for spot fixing during the Indian Premier League and being dragged to the court like a prisoner.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) was quick to impose a life ban on the temperamental fast bowler. Though charges against him were dropped by a trial court in New Delhi in July, 2015, Sreesanth’s career continues to be in limbo as the BCCI ban is upheld.
Meanwhile, Sreesanth tried different roles — from singing to dancing to acting and even entered politics — but he says cricket remains his first love.
“I’ve no complaints over what has happened. But I feel I should’ve been treated much better. The court had dropped all charges against me in 2015. But I still can’t play competitive cricket as the BCCI hasn’t lifted the ban. Since 2015, I’ve been trying to correspond, but to no avail,” Sreesanth told Doha Stadium Plus on the sidelines of the Nations Cup in Doha.
With age catching up, even if the ban is lifted, the 33-year-old knows his international career is over. But a burning desire to pick up the red cherry again is forcing him to ply his trade elsewhere.
“As far as I know, the ban for me applies only to BCCI tournaments. If BCCI gives me the permission to travel, then I can probably play in the Scotland League. I’m currently in talks with Scotland’s Glenrothes CC. It’s a first division club which got promoted last year. I can play for them in the 2017 season, provided Scotland board gets BCCI nod,” Sreesanth added.
A two-time World Cup winner — he was also a part of the triumphant team in the 2011 tournament co-hosted by India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh — Sreesanth, who played 27 Tests, 53 One-Day Internationals and 10 T20s, will always be remembered as one of the most idiosyncratic characters to have played the game.
A victim of his own destiny, Sreesanth does not have any regrets though.
“When I reached Doha, I met guys like Herschelle Gibbs, Wasim Jaffer, Umar Akmal who were here for Qatar Cricket Fiesta. They greeted me just like we did during our playing days. That puts this to perspective. Despite all that happened, I’ll still be remembered more as a player,” he concluded.