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Indian fast bowler S Sreesanth’s cricketing journey has been quite an eventful one. Ever since he made his international debut back in 2005, the cricketer has been part of two World Cup-winning sides but has also been involved in several controversial moments that ended up plaguing his decorated career. Just two years after lifting the 2011 World Cup for India, the Sreesanth cricket career graph took the biggest fall as he was banned for life for his alleged involvement in the 2013 Indian Premier League (IPL) spot-fixing scandal. However, the ban was later reduced to seven years and it came to a conclusion on Sunday, September 13.
With the conclusion of the Sreesanth ban, the 37-year-old has expressed his desire of making a comeback into the field and his home state Kerala recently stated that they would consider him if he manages to prove his fitness. Two days prior to the end of the Sreesanth ban, the right-arm pacer took to Twitter and wrote that he is completely free of any charges and will now represent the sport he loves the most. With a potential of a Sreesanth return lurking on, here is a look at four of his most controversial on-field moments.
The Sreesanth-Andrew Symonds rivalry first came to the fore during Australia’s tour to India in 2007. In the second ODI of the same tour, the Kerala pacer deceived the attacking all-rounder with a slower ball. While the burly Queenslander was heading back to the pavilion, Sreesanth’s over-aggressive celebrations and an angry stare sparked a series of heated exchanges between the two teams that lasted till India’s tour ‘Down Under’ later that same year. Prior to this game, Sreesanth's animated celebration after taking Matthew Hayden's wicket in the World T20 2007 semi-final, also grabbed headlines and was said to have created animosity between the two teams.
India toured South Africa in 2006-07 for a three-match Test series. During the opening Test at the Wanderers, Andre Nel taunted Sreesanth for “lacking in courage” when the latter was on strike. Much to everybody’s amusement, the tail-ender charged down the wicket off the very next delivery and smacked the ball straight over the bowler’s head for a six. What followed thereafter was a breach of the “gentlemen’s code” that left everyone with breathless laughter as Sreesanth turned the Wanderers deck into a dance floor.
During the 2005’s NKP Salve Challenger Trophy match between India B and India Seniors, Sreesanth sledged none other than India’s batting icon Sachin Tendulkar himself. While his performance in the tournament also earned him a Team India call-up a year later, his run-in with Sachin Tendulkar paved the way for many controversies that came in his career thereafter. The incident apparently angered Tendulkar so much that it reportedly took him years to forgive the pacer and move on from it.
In the inaugural edition of IPL, Sreesanth displayed some of his aggressive side by giving send-offs to Mumbai Indians batsmen while playing for Kings XI Punjab. After the match, it appeared that then Mumbai Indians skipper Harbhajan Singh had slapped the Kerala-based pacer. While the controversy became one of the talking points of that tournament, Sreesanth later claimed that his Indian teammate had only elbowed him and not slapped him.
The Sreesanth cricket career includes two World Cup titles (2007 T20 World Cup and 2011 World Cup) and a seven-year ban from competitive cricket. Between 2005 and 2011, he played 27 Tests, 53 ODIs and 10 T20Is for the Indian team. Throughout the Sreesanth cricket career, he collected 169 international wickets across all formats.
I’m completely free of any charges nd anything nd now gonna represent the sport I love the most.will give my very best to every ball I ball even it’s just practice.just have another 5 to 7 years max to give it all I’ve got nd I will give the very best to any team I play— Sreesanth (@sreesanth36) September 10, 2020
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