“The saddest thing in life is wasted talent” wrote Charles Dickens in a memorable letter to his son. The context seems apt for Sreesanth, banned India cricketer who turns 35 today.
The rise of the fast-bowler was rapid, and he quickly made big strides in the cricket circuit. It was NPK Salve trophy in 2005, where he shattered the stumps of the great Sachin Tendulkar to announce himself. That was it. He got noticed and fast-tracked to the national squad.
Sreesanth sent down a few hostile spells in India’s tour of South Africa 2006, including a haul of eight wickets against South Africa in Johannesburg, which helped India win their first Test in the country. In one of the fiery spells, the South Africa legend Kallis couldn’t do much but duck and dodge.
It was India’s second innings of the Johannesburg test and Andre Nel was bowling to Sreesanth, the last wicket. Nel bowled a bouncer to Sreesanth and said a ‘few words’. Nobody could believe what Sreesanth replied him with.
In India’s tour to West Indies, Sreesanth played a key role in bowling India to a historic triumph in Tests. In Antigua in June 2006, he claimed Ramnaresh Sarwan and Brian Lara without scoring in successive overs.
Sreesanth has been quite the character both on the field and off it. He was a promising cricketing talent that the cricket lovers deserved. Now, we can only say “Oh dear Sree! what it could have been”