Kerala coach 'happy' to have Sreesanth back provided he proves his fitness.
As the seven-year ban inches closer to end, Indian fast bowler S Sreesanth on Thursday said he is fit and raring to play cricket again.
Sreesanth was banned by the Board of Contol for Cricket in India (BCCI) for a lifetime in August 2013 along with his Rajasthan Royals teammates Ajit Chandila and Ankeet Chavan for indulging in alleged spot-fixing in the Indian Premier League (IPL) that year. However, last year his lifetime ban was reduced to seven years, which is set to complete on September 13 this year.
Sreesanth is certain of getting into the Kerala Ranji team but is waiting for the official announcement.
"The official announcement will come in September. I am just continuing with my training. Everybody is being supportive from the Secretary to Director General, everybody has been supportive, selectors and coach want me in the team," Sreesanth told ANI.
"I am just training, let's see, I am fit and raring to go. You will see me playing, I am just eagerly waiting to go forward. It's very, very clear I will be in the squad, the official announcement will be in September so I have to follow the rules and do things accordingly," he added.
Sreesanth will be considered for selection in the Kerala cricket team provided he proves fitness after his BCCI ban ends in September, state team coach Tinu Yohannan said on Thursday.
"Sreesanth will be considered for this year's Ranji Trophy. We are looking forward to having Sreesanth playing for Kerala again. Everyone in Kerala is also looking forward to that," Yohannan, also a former India pacer, told PTI.
Yohannan said Sreesanth has enough time to work on his fitness.
"His (Sreesanth's) ban will lifted in September. The good thing is that there is time for him get ready.. He is working hard on his game and his fitness..," the Kerala coach said.
"Then we will have to assess his physical fitness and game skills. Sree (Sreesanth) is always in the scheme of things...," he added.
The domestic season, expected to begin in August, could be rejigged in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Yohannan also said as there was a lot of uncertainty about game's resumption, a training camp would have to wait.
"As of now there is a lot of uncertainty about when cricket will resume. So, planning for camp, practice, etc will have to wait," he added.
Yohannan also said Sreesanth is in touch with him constantly and has been working hard on his game.
"... Sreesanth has been in constant touch with me. He has been working hard on his bowling and fitness. However, he has not played competitive cricket for some seven years now, we have to evaluate fitness and skills.
"But we will be very happy to welcome him back into the Kerala side," Yohannan, who played three Tests and an equal number of ODIs, said.
The 37-year-old Sreesanth admitted that cricket has changed a lot since the last time he played.
"I don't look at this as one of my second innings, seven years I have missed and cricket has changed a lot from the last time when I was playing. I still remember all the lovely days when I represented my country," he said.
The most debated change in the game of cricket has been the prohibition of saliva to shine the ball. The concerns regarding the spread of coronavirus forced the International Cricket Council (ICC) to make interim changes to playing regulations.
Reflecting on the same, Sreesanth said the topic has been blown out of proportion.
"It's being blown out of proportion, you can use sweat as well, you have to take care, you have to respect every decision the association is taking, it all comes down to skills. When I played county cricket, I learned that you just have to maintain the ball, it's more of keeping the ball dry," Sreesanth said.
"I am very happy in one way, there is a positive that only the skillful bowlers can now perform. You need to move on and adapt, you have to adapt if you want to become successful, the need of the hour is to adapt. It's about practice, and players will eventually get used to it," he added.