All the way back in 2013, the cricketing career of Sreesanth came to an abrupt pause, after he was suspended from the sport for match fixing. The ban, which was initially lifelong, was later reduced to seven years, and Sreesanth will be able to play cricket from tomorrow, 14th September 2020 onwards. The pacer from Kerala, now all geared up to return to the 22 yards, has the choicest of words to describe the resumption of his career: ‘Massive relief’.
All that said, a homecoming to the dressing room of India surely is a challenging task for the now 37 year old Sreesanth, but the veteran never stopped sharpening his bowling skills during the ban period.
Now free from suspension, Sreesanth will be eligible to play professional cricket from Monday tomorrow.
Sreesanth regains his ‘freedom’, but yet to find a ‘place to play’
“I have got freedom, freedom to play again. It’s a massive relief. I don’t think anyone else will understand what it means to me,” the bowler spoke to Times of India.
Unfortunately, Sreesanth still has to wait some more. While his long pause from the game is over, the game itself was paused for several months amid the COVID-19 pandemic, and he needs to find a tournament that he can make a comeback into.
“After a long wait, I can play again but there is no place to play in the country now. I even planned to organise a local tournament in Kochi this week so that I could step on to the field but decided against it looking at the risks involved, as the number of coronavirus cases in Kerala is increasing,” the 37 year old added.
The 2020 IPL is soon to kick off in UAE from 19th September, and the former Kings XI Punjab, Kochi Tuskers Kerala (now defunct) and Rajasthan Royals speedster’s option for now is domestic cricket in the country, which still has no hints of coming back into action.
Sreesanth continued, “From last May, I have put my heart and soul into training looking forward to playing again. So when I read reports suggesting that the domestic cricket in India may be a non-starter this season, I was shattered.”
A former Kerala cricket team stalwart. Sreesanth made his international debut against Sri Lanka in October 2006. He has made 53 ODI, 27 Test and 10 T20 appearances for the Men in Blue.
“I even thought of quitting the game,” the 2011 World Cup winner went on, “but then I thought I wouldn’t be doing justice to myself as all the efforts I have made to play the game again for all these years would have gone down the drain.”
If domestic cricket in the country faces cancellation for the current season, Sreesanth says he has to look forward to the governing body to allow him to play overseas cricket.
“My first priority is to prove my fitness and represent Kerala in domestic cricket. But if the domestic season in India is cancelled, I will have to look at other options. If there is no cricket here, then I might as well request the BCCI to allow me to play abroad,” Sreesanth signed off.