Going by the mess that he had got into, the mercurial Sreesanth, the medium pacer from Kerala, for all practical purposes, has played his last Ranji Trophy match against Andhra at Kadapa early this year. The disgraced pacer is likely to get a life ban from Board of Control for Cricket in India in the crucial Sunday meeting at Chennai.
Sreesanth was the star attraction at ACA – Y. S. Raja Reddy Stadium when Kerala played Andhra which ended in a draw. The match witnessed eccentric behaviour by the showman pacer which culminated in match referee Nishant Bordoli handing him over a level-2 punishment. The pacer lost 50 per cent of his match fee for his on-field unsavoury conduct involving Andhra Ranji skipper A.G. Pradeep, wicket keeper K.S. Bharat and umpires.
Sreesanth exhibited his temperamental behaviour when he threw his bat at the side-screen after being dismissed cheaply in the second innings as an opener.
“In fact, the match referee was keen on punishing the star paceman as he was setting a bad example to the fellow cricketers and the youngsters watching from the stands,” said former BCCI’s Talent Research Development Officer G. J. J. Raju, who was the manager of the host team.
The youngsters from Kadapa gave Sreesanth an overwhelming welcome and put up dozens of banners all over the town hailing Sreesanth and his role in two World T-20 World Cup triumphs. They cheered him, swarmed him both at the stadium and Hotel Sivasai Residency and waited patiently to take pictures.
They gave him notebooks, papers, bats and even currency notes, seeking his autograph. The organisers presented him a huge cake on January 1 and wished him “swift” comeback into the Indian team.
While batting, bowling and fielding, Sreesanth never failed to entertain the public and brought smiles on their faces with his antics. The spot fixing scandal will now make it a bitter memory.
“The young cricketers of Kadapa are shocked as Sreesanth was their role model until the spot fixing scandal broke out. They want to forget him and move on,” says Nageswara Raju, secretary of Kadapa Cricket Association, who looked after the extra security for the cricketer during his stay.