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Old boy Sreesanth visits his school

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Autograph please: Cricketer S. Sreesanth interacting with teachers of Florence Public School in Bangalore on Saturday.
Autograph please: Cricketer S. Sreesanth interacting with teachers of Florence Public School in Bangalore on Saturday.

Staff Reporter

Cricketer shares his experiences with teachers, students

BANGALORE: Florence Public School’s most famous alumnus kept an appointment on a day when much rested on his young shoulders. He was there at 8 a.m. sharp on Saturday, well ahead of time. Needless to say, he received a hero’s welcome. Gen Y’s favourite icon, S. Sreesanth of Class 1998-99, was felicitated by his school management for his dashing display in the T20 World Cup.

Mr. Sreesanth, who is in Bangalore to play the first one-day international against Australia, shared his happiness and experience with the students as well as teachers. Astonishing everyone by arriving a good half hour early, he had the gathering eating out of his callused hand, sharing his experiences on how to chase dreams and make them happen.

The formal function began with the children dancing to the song “Baar baar hum…” from Lagaan. Mr. Sreesanth swayed with the children, who honoured him by painting his face on their chests. The nimble cricketer matched his steps with theirs and regaled the screaming crowd with his dancing skills. Later, he remarked that the performance of the boys was “very good” though principal Abida (she was his class teacher then) graciously said her former pupil didn’t do too badly either. The girls pitched in with the song “Chak de India.”

It was the icon everywhere, including a PowerPoint presentation on his stay in the school, replete with his photographs in various moods and poses. And when a picture of the lad Sreesanth dancing was shown on the screen, the shy “Florencian Jackson” covered his face with both hands. The students cheered and clapped throughout the presentation.

School’s role

Replying to the felicitation, Mr. Sreesanth said his three-year stay at Florence changed his personality.

“When I came from Kerala, I knew to speak only four sentences in English — Good morning, Excuse me, Thank you, and May I come in? The school nurtured me and helped me excel in curricular as well as co-curricular activities. I owe a lot to my alma mater and Florence is close to my heart,” he said.

Speaking exclusively to The Hindu, Mr. Sreesanth said he was not a prankster, but would puckishly imitate his class teacher before she entered the class. On a serious note, he said schools play a big role in moulding the character of an individual.

School chairman F.A. Kudroli spoke of the tension of watching Mr. Sreesanth conceding runs in the T20 final. “But he held that vital catch and won the cup for India,” he said.

Ms. Abida said that Mr. Sreesanth shared a special bond with the school and paid a visit whenever he was in Bangalore. She and Salman, a student, read out poems penned by them in his praise.

The school honoured the player with a purse of Rs. 1 lakh, a trophy and a citation.

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