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Fit again Sreesanth focused on 'enjoying the game'

Last updated on: May 16, 2013 10:34 IST

Fit again Sreesanth focused on 'enjoying the game'

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Bikash Mohapatra

Following S Sreesanth's arrest over spot-fixing on Wednesday, we bring you this interview given by the India and Rajasthan Royals pacer in February.

It's been quite a while S Sreesanth donned national colours.

The Kerala-born bowler, who turned 30 on Wednesday, played the last of his 27 Tests against England in August 2011 – the fourth Test at The Oval.

The following period has seen the bowler undergo multiple surgeries and make a valiant effort to get back to field. The much-awaited comeback, from injuries and self-doubt, did happen late last year when Sreesanth represented his state in three Ranji Trophy games.

His performance in the same, though not outstanding, was encouraging enough to get him a nod in the Rest of India (RoI) squad for the Irani Cup.

Playing against Mumbai at the Wankhede stadium Sreesanth did show glimpses of his trademark aggression, peppering amongst others, Sachin Tendulkar, with a slew of short pitched deliveries.

His first innings figures (21-3-80-1), even as the hosts were dismissed for 409 in their first innings giving RoI a healthy lead of 117, may not look inspiring enough.

But those who watched him bowl on the day would vouch for the fact there was aggression on display aplenty, on a wicket that offered little to the quicks.

"I am slowly getting back my rhythm," said Sreesanth, proceeding thereafter to explain his point in detail.

"It has taken me some time," he continued, adding, "But it is a big game after a long break.

"At first I tried to cut down on the runs and ended up conceding a few. But then I was my aggressive self."


Image: S Sreesanth
Photographs: Gareth Copley/Getty Images

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'Wanted to dismiss Tendulkar'

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The bowler opined the Wankhede wicket demanded additional effort.

"Despite the fact that this is a batting wicket, there is some help for the seamers as well, especially if you put a bit more effort," he said.

The contest between Sreesanth and Tendulkar – the Master Blaster eventually remained unbeaten on 140 – looked interesting – with the bowler frequently attacking Tendulkar with short pitched stuff and the batsman responding with a slew of boundaries – and the bowler admitted he had made his plans in advance.

"The day before was my birthday. My dream was to get him (Tendulkar) out as a gift," confessed Sreesanth, adding, "In my mind I had already got him out. But it didn't happen and when it did (a leg before appeal) it was declared a no ball.

"When you bowl to Sachin paaji, you need to plan well in advance. I had planned to keep him on the back foot.

"But after a point it did not work. He came onto his front foot and hit me for a few boundaries."


Image: S Sreesanth
Photographs: Duif du Toit / Gallo Images / Getty Images

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'I really missed out being on the field'

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Despite failing to get Tendulkar out, or getting many wickets for that matter, Sreesanth was content at just going out to the field and giving his best.

"I really missed out being on the field," he explained, adding, "When I was not playing I realised how important it is to be on the field.

"I have been fortunate in the sense that after playing just three first class games I have got an opportunity to play in this tournament (Irani Cup).

"I am trying to make the most of the opportunities I get." Having regained his strides, the bowler albeit is not harbouring any false hopes. Neither is he putting too much pressure on himself.

"I am enjoying the game and not waiting for things to happen," explained Sreesanth, before proceeding to elaborate his point further.

"Earlier, I used to play for my parents, for the country," he continued, adding, "Now I am playing for myself because I have realised if you are happy it is good for the team as well.

"The biggest difference now is I know exactly what I am doing." From a pragmatic perspective, Sreesanth getting back into his rhythm is good news for the selectors, who meet on Sunday to decide on the team for the upcoming home series against Australia.


Image: S Sreesanth
Photographs: Duif du Toit / Gallo Images / Getty Images

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Not worried about selection

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With Zaheer Khan, Irfan Pathan, Umesh Yadav and Varun Aaron facing lengthy spells on the sidelines, and Ishant Sharma's ankle problem flaring up, the selectors are woefully short of fast bowling options ahead of the crucial series.

Sreesanth gives them a viable alternative. The bowler albeit refrained from having any expectations as such.

"I am not really worried about selection," said Sreesanth, in what was a categorical response.

"I'm taking just one game at a time," he continued adding, "If the selectors feel I am ready to take the field against Australia, I'll be more than willing to give my best.

"If not, I have the Vijay Hazare Trophy to play in Goa."


Image: S Sreesanth
Photographs: Gareth Copley/Getty Images

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