Sreesanth, the India fast bowler, has said that he will continue to represent his home state, Kerala, in the Ranji Trophy. He had earlier hinted at the possibility of switching states for the 2010-11 domestic season.
"I always want to represent the Indian team as a Keralite and I will continue to play for Kerala", he said in Thiruvananthapuram. Sreesanth had been included in Kerala's 25-man preliminary squad but was not named captain.
"Though I have not taken a final decision,I might opt for playing for another state in the coming season," he had told PTI at the time.
"Even if I play for some other state, it is because I want to play more cricket, so that I could do well and get into team India." However, he said that he would stick with Kerala.
"I only mentioned my opinion during an interview and nothing more to be attributed to it. Series and matches are coming and I am working hard to be part of the team."
Sreesanth (Malayalam: ശ്രീശാന്ത്) pronunciation (help·info) (born February 6, 1983 in Kothamangalam, Kerala, India) (also known as S. Sreesanth, Shanthakumaran Sreesanth, and Sreesunth for a brief period), is an Indian cricketer. He is a right-arm fast-medium-pace bowler and a right-handed tail-ender batsman. In first class cricket, he plays for Kerala and in the Indian Premier League, he plays for Kings XI Punjab. He is the first Kerala Ranji player to play Twenty20 cricket for India. He is noted for his exuberant and emotional behaviour, especially whilst appealing for and celebrating wickets. Such trademark behaviour has seen him frequently fined for violating the player conduct guidelines of the International Cricket Council. In October 2009, the BCCI and Kerala Cricket Association issued separate warnings to Sreesanth for indiscipline, failure of which could invite drastic actions such as ban from domestic cricket.
Outside cricket, Sreesanth is a psychology student. In his childhood, he was a breakdancer, and had become a national champion when he was in eighth grade.
Sreesanth initially was a leg-spinner in his childhood, modelling his action on India's leading Test wicket-taker Anil Kumble, who was to become his Test captain. However, his habit of bowling yorkers led him to convert to fast bowling, after being encouraged by his elder brother. Following in the footsteps of fellow Kerala fast bowler Tinu Yohannan, who earned selection to the National Cricket Academy in 2000, Sreesanth was selected for the MRF Pace foundation in Chennai. He then made his first-class debut against Goa in the 2002-03 domestic season, claiming 22 wickets in seven matches in the Ranji Trophy and winning selection for South Zone in the Duleep Trophy squad in the same season.
He was selected for India-A side in a tour match against the visiting New Zealand side at Rajkot. He claimed one wicket in twelve overs after being restricted with a hamstring injury. He also missed five Ranji Trophy games in that season, although he still travelled with the side for away games. This led to rumours that an astrologer convinced him to take a break from competition to preserve his longevity in the sport, which Sreesanth categorically denied, maintaining that he was training only to regain his fitness.
In November 2004, Sreesanth entered the record books when he took a hat-trick against Himachal Pradesh in a Ranji trophy game, the first time it was achieved by a Kerala bowler, earning him the nickname The Prince of hat-tricks amongst Keralites. He was selected to represent India B in the Challenger Trophy in October 2005, a domestic limited-overs tournament. He performed impressively in that tournament, earning the Man of the Series award and being the leading wicket taker with the third best bowling average. This led to his selection to Indian team for the home ODI series against Sri Lanka.
Sreesanth was given the new ball in the first ODI against Sri Lanka in Nagpur. After being punished early by Kumar Sangakkara and Sanath Jayasuriya, Sreesanth returned to claim his first two ODI wickets at the end of the match. He was left out of the team and was later recalled for the fourth, fifth and sixth ODIs as coach Greg Chappell tinkered with the line-up. He was retained in the squad but did not play in the 5 match series against South Africa, but played all five matches in the tour to Pakistan, recording a haul of 4/58 in the fifth ODI against Pakistani cricket team in Karachi. A good home series against the England in April 2006, in which he claimed 10 wickets at an average of 16.3, including a career best 6/55 in the final match at Indore (in which he was awarded the man of the match award), led to him subsequently being awarded a BCCI contract, in the C-grade in May.
His disappointing economy rate led him to be left out of the ICC Champions Trophy squad of 14, with the beneficiary being R. P. Singh. He made an unexpected come back to the blue squad due to the injury to Ajit Agarkar later in the tournament. He was also out of the Indian ODI team for the England tour.
Sreesanth was selected for his first Test squad in the home series against England in March 2006, in place of Zaheer Khan. He claimed 4/95 in his debut appearance in the 1st Test in Nagpur, where he opened the bowling with Irfan Pathan. He was ruled out of the second Test in Mohali due to illness, but recovered and captured five wickets as well a 29* with the bat in the Third Test in Mumbai. With the axing of Pathan, Sreesanth became India's leading pace bowler on the tour of the West Indies. He missed the second Test due to an injury but managed to claim his best match figures of 5/72 in the 4th Test in Kingston, Jamaica.
Sreesanth's most significant performance to date in Test cricket was his role in the 1st Test of India's 2006 tour to South Africa at Johannesburg. After losing the limited-overs series 4-0, Sreesanth produced took 5-40 in a display of pace and swing to help dismiss South Africa. This performance helped to bowl South Africans out for just 84, leading to first Indian win on South African soil, for which he was named man of the match. Again, Sreesanth's emotional antics, which have led him to be regarded by some commentators as eccentric, were frequently noted. He was fined after breaching the International Cricket Council's advertising logo policy, and also for "conduct contrary to the spirit of the game" after sending off Hashim Amla after dismissing him. He was also involved in a highly-publicised confrontation while batting against paceman Andre Nel. Nel delivered a series of fast balls at Sreesanth's upper body and after Sreesanth ungainly evaded one delivery, taunted him by gesturing to his chest, indicating that he felt Sreesanth was lacking in courage. On the next ball, Sreesanth gave him the charge and hit the ball straight over the bowler's head into the stands for a six. He then whirled his bat in enthusiam and danced down the wicket, making fun of Nel and performing a dance. Later, Sreesanth said that he would not repeat anything of the sort, since he could be suspended for violating the code of conduct. Even though he went unpunished for the Nel incident, he was fined 30% of the match fee for running towards Hashim Amla after picking up his wicket, and wearing a branded garment under the jersey.
Sreesanth courted controversy once again during the fourth day of the second test of India's 2007 tour to England at Trent Bridge. He was fined half of his match fee for deliberately shoulder barging England captain Michael Vaughan whilst walking back to his mark. He also bowled a beamer at batsman Kevin Pietersen, which the latter had to take drastic action to avoid. Sreesanth however did immediately apologise afterwards. After the match he said that the ball had slipped from his hand. Soon afterwards, he bowled a no-ball where he overstepped the crease by roughly 2 feet (0.61 m), leading to speculation it was deliberate; the delivery was a bouncer to Paul Collingwood. Former England captain Michael Atherton called for Sreesanth to be banned for the Pietersen beamer, saying that Sreesanth couldn't control his on-pitch emotions.
After leaving out of the Indian team for about a year and half, Sreesanth was called back to play the home Test series against Sri Lanka in November 2009. Sreesanth played the second Test in Kanpur and picked up five wickets in the first innings, which helped India win the match by an innings and 144 runs. Sreesath was awarded the Man of the Match for taking six wickets in the match. After the match, Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni praised him as one of the best bowlers of reverse swing.
In September 2007, Sreesanth joined the Indian team in South Africa for the inaugural Twenty20 World Cup following his omission for the one-day series in England. Although his performance in the tournament lacked consistency, Sreesanth managed breakthroughs at critical junctures that were vital to his team's success. During the semifinal match against Australia which India won, Sreesanth got the vital wickets of the Australian openers Gilchrist and Hayden. The latter proved to be decisive in turning the match round in India's favour. In the final against Pakistan, Sreesanth proved expensive with the ball, but became the centre of Indian celebrations as he held on to the catch in the last over that ended Pakistan's innings and made India World Twenty20 champions.
On April 25, 2008, following the victory of his Kings XI Punjab's victory in the Indian Premier League over the Mumbai Indians at Mohali, Sreesanth was slapped under his eye by Harbhajan Singh, the captain of Mumbai. The incident came to light as Sreesanth was caught by TV cameras sobbing inconsolably on the field before the presentation ceremony. Sreesanth later downplayed the incident saying he had no complaints against Harbhajan who was "like an elder brother" to him. Harbhajan's team had lost their third consecutive match when he apparently reacted violently to Sreesanth's approaching him and saying "hard luck". The IPL banned Harbhajan from the remainder of the tournament and prohibited him from collecting his salary after finding him guilty. The BCCI launched a separate investigation into the incident and decided to ban Harbhajan for five ODIs, deeming him to have broken the code of conduct in his national contract.
In Australia earlier that year, Sreesanth stated that he would maintain an aggressive attitude on the cricket field, "Sreesanth's way is to be aggressive. Sreesanth will always remain Sreesanth.
In August 2009, Sreesanth signed a deal to play for Warwickshire for the remainder of the English season.
In the English-language media, Sreesanth's full name has been the source of some confusion. He has been variously referred to as "Sree Sreesanth","Sri Sreesanth","Shantha Sreesanth". and "Shanthakumaran Sreesanth". He has also stated in the past that he wished to be known as "Sree Santh". In September 2007, Sreesanth said that his name was just "Sreesanth" and that the other variations were incorrect:
"It’s Sreesanth. There is no Shanthakumaran Sreesanth, there is no S. Sreesanth. There was this function recently where they called me Sree Sreesanth, then Sree, and finally S Sreesanth. It’s just Sreesanth."
When his form slumped in 2006, Sreesanth had tried to change his luck by changing his name to Sreesunth, on numerological advice. He later stated that he was not going to change the name due to sentimental reasons. The word 'santh' in his name is derived from his father's name Santhakumaran Nair.
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