Sreesanth ready to do his stuff at Lord’s


London : It's not easy for a young cricketer to attract attention in a team featuring the likes of Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, Sourav Ganguly and Anil Kumble.

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But Shanthakumaran Sreesanth, since beginning his international career, has done so by sheer force of personality.

He is indeed a rare commodity – an Indian pace bowler who bristles with aggression and who is happy to take the attack to opposition batsmen, whether with the ball or verbally.

"Even if I am bowling against my Dad I run in as if he is my biggest enemy," he told BBC Sport, ahead of his first Test on English soil, starting at Lord's Thursday.

The lithe 22-year-old took 4/95 on Test debut against England at Nagpur in March 2006, but it was on tour of South Africa last winter when he established his combative reputation.

There are not many players who would stand up to South Africa's volatile Andre Nel, but after narrowly avoiding being laid low by a bouncer in Johannesburg, he hit the next ball for six and ran towards the towering Nel twirling his bat in celebration.

Sheltering from the rain at the Lord's indoor school, however, Sreesanth proved to be a charming, personable young man who is quite conscious of the history of cricket.

So what of this reputation as a hot-headed, spiky-haired, war-painted, fast bowler?

"My parents told me 'Whatever you do, do it with lots of passion' and I want to be the best at what I do.

"It is not intended to rattle the batsmen, it is just me. I was like this when I used to play tennis and other ball games. I don't hide anything. I just show my emotions," he gushed.

It his second visit to England, having toured with a young India side as a very different cricketer.

"When I was 16, I came here and played eight matches but I was a leg-spinner then, I only started bowling fast when I was 19," he revealed.

The reason for this change was a chance meeting with Australian legend Dennis Lillee, who runs the MRF Pace Academy at Chennai.

He is determined to savour the experience of Lord's, having been unable to appreciate its historic importance fully as a visiting teenager on his first trip.

Emerging from beneath the media centre he paused to survey the scene, the majestic pavilion ahead of him, imposing masses of empty white seats and that magnificently manicured outfield.

He touched the hallowed turf and began a practice run to the crease.

Although the square was covered on yet another day of blustery spring-like downpours, he bowled an imaginary delivery, with his next target to have his name permanently inscribed on the honours board for those who have taken five wickets in an innings.

"I promised myself I would play here one day and the moment I came out of the hotel this week I was just waiting to see the gate, then I was waiting to see the pavilion, then it was the ground, then it was the wicket.

"The moment I saw the wicket I wanted to practice. Every step is a dream. So many greats have played here, this is the best place, it's very emotional for me," he said.