Memories of a sparkling tour exactly four years ago still fresh in his mind, India medium pacer S Sreesanth is again travelling to South Africa with the belief that MS Dhoni’s men have it in them to win a Test series there.
“People always ask me what is the difference between old and new Sreesanth. It’s just the same... But I guess I’m more matured and focussed now, which is obvious. You get matured with age,” Sreesanth told PTI.
The hard and bouncy pitches of South Africa might have been India’s nemesis, but Sreesanth strongly believes that this time there would be a turnaround. “There is nothing difficult there. If it’s difficult, it’s possible as well (to win a series there). We love challenges and are really looking forward to the series. It’s about taking one ball, one day at a time,” he said.
Recalling the team’s last tour of South Africa, the Kerala bowler said: “In the last series, I was about 23... I was full of energy as every youngster is.” Sreesanth also added that he was lucky to be a part of the No. 1 Test side, which boasts of some of the world’s best cricketers.
“Every member of the side is a great motivator. I’m really lucky to be part of the side. There is Sachin paaji, Rahul Dravid, VVS (Laxman), Virender Sehwag, Dhoni, Gautam Gambhir, Harbhajan Singh, Zaheer Khan... There is something to learn from every one.”
Asked if this was the best side ever, he said: “You people will be best to comment on that. But this is a brilliant side. We have all the ingredients for a win there.”
“I understand the game better now. My skill has got better both with the bat and the ball,” he said.
He thanked the national selectors for bringing him back to the side. Sreesanth reposed the faith by bagging eight wickets in three Tests and seven wickets from two ODIs against New Zealand in the ongoing series.
“I’m really thankful to the selectors for having faith on my abilities. I will look to continue with my good work. It’s always special to play for your country. God has been extremely kind to me. I’m really lucky and thankful.”
A Tendulkar admirer, Sreesanth also hoped that the maestro notches up his 50th Test century in the first match of the series at Centurion from December 16-20.
“I wish Sachin paaji all the best wishes and sincerely hope that I will be there when he records the milestone.” “I’m always indebted to him for his support and motivation. He is always there for you, guiding you from behind.”
The speedster also said Zaheer Khan had helped him in a big way as a youngster. “I know him since my academy days as an under-19 cricketer. I’ve always looked up to him and he always speaks to me, guiding me on and off.”
Keywords: India-South Africa Test series