On a comeback trial following a foot injury, S. Sreesanth proved his fitness in the ongoing Irani Cup match against Mumbai. He got the wicket of Wasim Jaffer yesterday, but more significantly he renewed his battle against Sachin Tendulkar and left memories of his remarkable spirit.
Excerpts from a media interaction on Friday:
About his bowling: I’m feeling good and slowly getting back my rhythm. It took some time. It’s a big game after a long break. My initial plan was to just contain runs, but I went for runs. Thanks to Harbhajan and Pragyan discussed how I could bowl better. Thanks to Vikram Rathour also. He told me ‘you look good when you’re aggressive’; so I started bowling bouncers and got the rhythm back. If you bend your back a bit on this track, there is some help; it’s a matter of hitting the seam.
Contest with Sachin Tendulkar : I wanted to bowl first in the match, because it was my birthday day before yesterday and my dream was to get him out on my birthday. But obviously I couldn’t, he was 140 not out! The plan did work a bit, but unfortunately I bowled a no-ball on a very close call. But no controversies, a no-ball is a no-ball. Inside me I think I did get him out, but according to the rules he’s not out, so he stays not out. But I’m happy. Obviously when you bowl to players like Sachin you have to really plan well and have your homework done. I have been playing with him as well, so that helped, but obviously I still couldn’t get him out. There was a plan to keep him on the backfoot, but even after playing a lot of balls off the backfoot, he came on the front foot for the next ball. What can I say. He’s a legend. After that the plan was to not give him runs and keep it tight. I managed to hold him on 99 for one over.
Back to the game: I think I’m enjoying the game much more. I’m not waiting for something to happen, I’m running around more, waiting for every ball to come to
me. When I look back, I really missed the game when I was injured. I just want to enjoy every bit of it now. The biggest difference is that I know exactly what I’m doing now.
Injuries to fast bowlers in India: It happens on subontinental wickets, especially when you keep bending your back to give your best. No fast bowler saves himself for the next day, whether he is playing for the country or club. We give our very best, so we will get injured. When you bowl on wickets which don’t really help, you tend to get injured. It’s part and parcel of the game. Luckily we have lots of fast bowlers who are coming up who are very good. It’s good to see more youngsters coming in and bowling well.
About Ishwar Pandey: He’s bowling really well, he’s got lots of wickets. I was lucky enough to play with him in the India `A’ match against England. He bowled well there too. He’s sharp and has a good outswinger. I was standing at mid-on and trying to help him a bit. He was helping me a bit in this game too. I think he’s a very mature cricketer. And it’s good to see he can hit some sixes too! I enjoyed it from the other end.
On his likely recall for Test series against Australia: I don’t want to be diplomatic, but seriously I am only looking at the game, not worried about selections. I am enjoying every day and every moment. If I get selected, I’ll do well. I never thought I’ll play the Irani Cup seven months after surgery. If given an opportunity, I would love to keep doing what I always do. I am a much better bowler than I used to be. If the selectors feel I am ready and good enough to play Test matches, I’ll be more than happy. If not, I have the Vijay Hazare in Goa.