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S Sreesanth

S Sreesanth is an unassuming right-arm fast-medium pace bowler from Kerala known for unique bowling action who rapidly rose through the ranks of Indian cricket to secure his place in the ODI squad. Born on the 6th of February 1983 in Kothamangalam, Kerala, he is the son of Shanthakumaran Nair and Savitri Devi, an officer in the State treasury Department. Sreesanth succeeded in creating a niche for himself in the international cricketing arena as an aggressive wicket taking bowler. Sreesanth almost never fails to grab the spotlight for his aggressive appealing, on-field antics and an eye-for eye attitude against teams with a known tendency to reflect aggression like Australia. This cricketing attitude has, nevertheless, never proved to be very beneficial for him and was also penalized on a few occasions by ICC for violation of player conduct.

Few know that Sreesanth was a national break dancing champion in the eighth grade and went ahead to study psychology at the university level before entering the cricketing arena. He is well conversant in English, Hindi and Tamil apart from Malayalam, which is his mother tongue. As a kid, he used to emulate the action of leg-spinner Anil Kumble before his transformation into an aggressive fast bowler, primarily as a result of his obsession for bowling yorkers. He made his debut in the first-class cricket in the 2002-03 season and claimed 22 wickets in 7 matches in the Ranji Trophy, which led to his inclusion in the Duleep Trophy squad for South Zone in the same season. Later, he played for India-A team against New Zealand and claimed a wicket in 12 overs before succumbing to a hamstring injury. He also missed at least five Ranji Trophy games in the next season due to fitness reasons, though still a part of the team.

His fantastic hat-trick effort against Himachal Pradesh in a Ranji Trophy game held in November 2004 earned him the title of "The Prince of Hat-Tricks" for being the first bowler from Kerala to achieve the feat. In October 2005, he became the leading wicket taker in the Challenger Trophy while representing India B and had the third best bowling averages that forced selectors to include him in the Indian ODI squad for a series against Sri Lanka. In his debut match against Sri Lanka, he bowled 5 expensive overs but ended up claiming two crucial wickets, still, he had to miss the next two matches and later returned to play in the 4th, 5th and 6th matches in the series.

After a relatively lackluster start to his cricketing career, he went ahead to claim 4 wickets for 58 runs in the 5th ODI against Pakistan in Karachi and a record-breaking 10-wicket haul against England during a home series in April 2006 with a career best average of 16.3. Sreesanth did not fail to impress the visitors with another wicket feast of 6/55 in the finals against England played at Lahore, which also earned him his first Man of the match title.

Earlier, Sreesanth had a magnificent start to his test career against England in March 2006 where he claimed 4 wickets for 95 runs in his debut match itself as an opening bowler. One of the most memorable performances from the exuberant cricketer came in the first test match between Indian and South Africa in 2006, played in Johannesburg, producing the magic figure of 5/40 to prove his worth as a genuine fast bowler helping India bowl out South Africans for 84 which led to the first Indian win in South Africa. He was named man of the match for this achievement. Later, though, he became involved in controversy for his idiosyncrasies on the field against England and South Africa in 2006-2007.

In September 2007, Sreesanth managed to get critical breakthroughs for India in the World Twenty20 Cricket 2007 tournament, especially by claiming crucial wickets of Adam Gilchrist and Matthew Hayden in the semifinals against Australia which decisively turned the match in India's favour. Later, it was Sreesanth who held on to the final-over catch inn the finals against Pakistan which made India the Twenty20 champions.

Sreesanth has proved to be an important ingredient in the recipe of Indian cricket, not only helping satiate the appetite for securing euphoric victories but spicing up the game as well with his uniquely eccentric approach.

Last Updated on : 03/07/2013