I am trying to change, says Sreesanth

By Abhishek Roy, IANS

Hyderabad : Medium pacer S. Sreesanth’s on-field antics have caught as much attention as his lion-hearted bowling, but the Kerala player admitted he is trying to change himself.

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“I know my antics are a hot topic. I know I have to change for good and I am trying to do that,” Sreesanth told IANS in an interview.

“I having been playing like this since my childhood because I enjoy my game like this. People say a lot about my antics, but I can’t change them only for the sake of changing. I have to change it for the better,” said the 24-year-old bowler.

Only the second cricketer from Kerala to turn out for the national team, he took the country by storm with his aggressive bowling and has been a delight on the field with his entertaining antics, much to the chagrin of the opposing batsmen.

Right from his celebratory dance after hitting South African fast bowler Andre Nel for a huge six last year to his chit chat and Mammooty-like walks on the ground has provided much amusement to the spectators. But it has come at a price.

Sreesanth has been censored on numerous occasions and even fined a few times.

During Tuesday’s match against the visiting Australians at Kochi’s Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, the medium pacer clashed repeatedly with the batsmen and even appealed for a run out against Andrew Symonds after the ball had been declared dead by the umpire.

Sreesanth ran up to batsman on strike Brad Haddin to collect the ball after it rapped Haddin pads and stood eyeball-to-eyeball with the batsman for several seconds.

Symonds left his crease from the non-striker’s end to have a word with Sreesanth, who promptly dislodged the bails and continued to appeal for a run out though umpire Suresh Shastri had already signalled “dead” ball.

India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni prevented the situation from turning ugly by persuading Sreesanth to get on with the game.

“I know I have my responsibilities in the team and I never want to let down my captain and team. They have a lot of faith in me but I play my game aggressively and I definitely enjoy it,” said Sreesanth, who idolises the great Australian fast bowling legend Dennis Lillee.

When asked what could be the key to success against the touring Australians, Sreesanth added: “We don’t have to be afraid of them. At least I am not. I know I play my game aggressively and I will continue doing so against them as well.”

Sreesanth is now one of the frontline bowlers for the home side. But he likes to play it down, saying: “It is an honour for me to shoulder the responsibilities. That is how I see my role in the team.

“I have my own expectations and don’t want to let myself down. I am always passionate about the game and try to enjoy it on the field as well,” he said.

On the Twenty20 World Championships win, Sreesanth said: “Twenty20 was a great learning experience but the best part was that I did my part.

“I never let Mahi (Dhoni) down whenever he handed me the ball in the crucial junctures of the game. It is very important to earn the trust of your captain.”

Dhoni led a young bunch to triumph at the Twenty20 World Championships and the squad is being widely tipped as the future of Indian cricket.

“There is healthy competition in the team. I think this is a good sign for the future of Indian cricket and I am looking forward to play my part in it,” feels Sreesanth.