I now play cricket for myself: Sreesanth
After a year-long battle with injuries, S Sreesanth is back playing first-class cricket in the ongoing 2013 Irani Cup. In what came as a pleasing sign, Sreesanth got better with each spell bowling for Rest of India. His performance in the first innings (1 for 80 in 21 overs) culminated in a fascinating tussle with Sachin Tendulkar when the legendary batsman was batting in his 90s.
Sreesanth made generous and accurate use of the bouncer to have Tendulkar ducking and leaving. While his wish of dismissing the master batsman didn’t materialise – Tendulkar remained unbeaten on 140 – the pacer enjoyed the little competition with him.
“During the lunch break, I had a discussion with bhajji pa [Harbhajan Singh], [Pragyan] Ojha and [ROI coach, Vikram] Rathore,” Sreesanth revealed. “After that I started bowling bouncers and got into good rhythm and hit the seam well.
“I had planned to bowl short to paaji [Tendulkar] to put him on the back foot. But he is a legend. He remained on the front foot and then I tried to restrict him. Whether playing with him or against, you always end up clapping for him and that’s what I did today, I clapped for him,” Sreesanth said.
Sreesanth, who was expensive in his first spell of the match, said he was being too cautious and defensive in the earlier spells, which backfired for him. “This is only my third game after comeback. I wasn’t sure how things will pan out and so I tried to just contain the runs. Obviously, that didn’t work and I went for more runs,” he said.
Besides lacking the discipline of bowling in the right areas on a consistent basis, Sreesanth also has a history of being in the news for wrong reasons. He, however, says that a year and a half on the sidelines (he played his last international match in August, 2011) has made him realise the value of cricket in his life and made him more focused.
“I am enjoying the game much more now. I am not waiting for something to happen; instead of waiting for the ball to come to me, I’m now running around to get to it,” he said. “I want make the most of every opportunity and I know exactly what I am doing. I have realised how important is to be on the field.”
While Sreesanth hopes to get a chance to face his favourite opponents in the upcoming Border-Gavaskar Trophy, he insisted on not distracting himself by contemplating about the uncontrollables.
“I am not thinking about the selection and just enjoying my time. I know it sounds very diplomatic but it’s the truth. If given the opportunity, I will like to bowl well against the Aussies. I have matured as a bowler and I will get my chance if selectors think I am ready for Test cricket,” he said.
The temperamental fast bowler said the major change that he has brought about in his attitude is that he now plays the game for the love of it. “Earlier I played cricket for others – my parents, my country. But now I am playing for myself. If I play for myself and do well, it will eventually help the team win,” said a philosophical Sreesanth.