And a more mature Sreesanth doesn’t want to look too far ahead. “I need to be realistic. I need to take baby steps. Though I have been practising for a while, it is very different from playing competitive cricket. I just hope that they (BCCI) don’t take these 90 days (the time the court has given for the BCCI to reconsider the quantum of punishment) to arrive at a decision. I have waited long enough; six years, to get back on to the cricket field. I will write a letter to BCCI once I read the final order requesting them to just allow me to play club cricket. Only when I get to play will I know where I stand,” Sreesanth told TOI.
The pacer admits that with growing age his reflexes may have come down but draws inspiration from tennis star Leander Paes and former India teammate Ashish Nehra. “I got a knock on the head while playing with kids in Mumbai. I think it had a lot to do with my slow reflexes. But I guess age is all in the mind. Leander won a Grand Slam at 42. Ashish bhai (Ashish Nehra) was bowling till he was 38. I was never short on confidence and haven’t lost it still. I am not competing with anyone nor am I eyeing an India spot now. But I firmly believe I still have years left in me as a cricketer,” the pacer explained.
The maverick pacer made his debut for India in 2005 against Sri Lanka in an ODI in Nagpur and played 27 Tests, 53 ODIs and 10 T20s and was part of India’s two World Cup-winning squads in 2007 (World T20) and 2011 (50-over World Cup). And he believes that he has got more to offer to cricket than getting back on to the field and playing. “The experiences I have gone through would be unparalleled. So I would like to work with upcoming cricketers and groom them for future challenges. I would like to start a cricket academy. Also, I have plans to have an indoor cricketing facility in Kochi, which could be the biggest in India. But before all that, I need the green signal from BCCI,” said the pacer.
The pacer says Friday’s Supreme Court order has been a great relief and it is his ‘never-give-up’ attitude that helped him through in his turbulent times. “The Supreme Court has given me a lifeline and it has helped me restore my life, dignity and respect back. Now my kids will know when they grow up that though their father was sent to jail, he never gave up and fought against the odds to the end. It’s an enthralling story. Isn’t it?” Sreesanth signed off.