Sreesanth is a real talent. Make no mistake at it. To be able to make the South African batsman dance to his tunes in those South African wickets, you must be skillful in that. Swing was his weapon, wasn’t it? And the way the seam landed, the length and the line made him so lethal. The way he cleaned up Gilchrist and Hayden in that epic T20 World cup Semifinal is still fresh in our minds. We gazed in admiration whenever he swung the ball like that. Then one fine day in West Indies, he traps Brian Lara. Another day at Trentbridge, in an unbelievable spell of swing bowling, he nails the English top order. And on another day in Brisbane,he pairs with Ishant Sharma to bowl the Aussies out for under 150. And similarly in South Africa, he sends Jacques Kallis back to the pavilion with a peach of a delivery. So, aren’t these top notch performances? Indian public seldom remembers this.
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Yes, Sreesanth matches his on-field performances with his off-the field ones.
He dances. So? Cricketers aren’t supposed to dance or what? Even Sunil Gavaskar has acted in movies, right.
He parties. So? Who doesn’t party? Good boys like Dravid, Laxman, Sachin and Sehwag are exceptions. But again, they are married.
He socializes with Bollywood actress? Oh, common. Cricket and Bollywood is a glamourous partnership. Ask Tiger Pataudi & Sharmila Tagore. Ask Zaheer Khan & Isha Sharvani or Harbhajan Singh & Geeta Basra. Wait Wait. You forgot Yuvraj Singh-Deepika Padukone-MS Dhoni ?
He takes part in fashion events. So? That’s his personal matter. You don’t judge cricketers by their ramp walks, do you?
He sledges, gets into a banter with the opposition. So? Haven’t you seen the way the Aussies played under Steve Waugh or Ricky Ponting?
Wait. Haven’t we all stood by Harbhajan Singh during the unsporting Monkey Gate episode? And frankly speaking, Sreesanth’s theatrics were nothing compared to the Harbhajan’s Mon-key, Maa-ki episode. But why didn’t the Indian fans never support Sree? Because of a simple fact that he is a Malayalee or as some idiotic Hindi speaking devils say, he is a Madrasi. Kochi and Kerala will easily top the charts of the preferred tourist destinations but in the Indian Cricket Map, it hasn’t it. And Sreesanth personally has admitted that his talent was recognized only when he moved to Bangalore. If he was in Kerala, he’d have probably ended up his career having played only Plate-Division Ranji Trophy games. They talk of all these Unity in Diversity here but fail to sense the reality that people from smaller states are often neglected and are seldom given much importance.
Sreesanth was a motivation for the entire state of Kerala to take up Cricket. If one of our guys can do it, why can’t we? Through ups and downs, we looked up to Sreesanth. We laughed when he danced, We smiled when he ran through the best batting line ups, we giggled when he sledged, until the last Thursday morning. We woke up to a punch-on-the-face, our inspiration, our own Sree was alleged to be involved in Spot Fixing. Nothing has been proved, though the Police claim that they have evidence. Until the charges are proved, Sree will continue to be our hero, he will be our pride that he has always been. He has played a lot under Rahul Dravid. So he should’ve picked up a few things on how to play the gentleman’s game. He has always been a loner in the Indian Team, with no friends and no one to put an arm on his shoulder and motivate him. He has foes in the Indian Team to often discriminate him on the basis of region and language. There wasn’t anyone with him when he needed the most. Sourav Ganguly reacted to the shocking news that Sree was a stupid and a temperamental character and that he is a sheer waste of talent. Mr. Dada, what were you doing while playing? You could’ve been that man to go up to him and given a pat on his back . You could’ve backed him the way you backed Sehwag, Harbhajan and Zaheer. You could’ve been that man to go and tell him what’s wrong and what’s right like how you told the perennial bad boy of Indian Cricket- Harbhajan Singh. You didn’t do it. In fact no body did it. In ups and downs this Indian, sorry this South Indian, sorry this Malayalee had only himself to motivate and back.
These are days when even Justice comes in certain dollars and a lot of background engineering goes on! So, we are keeping our fingers crossed. We hope that our Sree comes out clean. If he does, the entire state of Kerala will breathe a sigh of relief. If he doesn’t, we will all feel cheated, we will have the Indian Cricket to blame partly.