One of the most prominent talents to arrive from Kerala, speedster Santhkumaran Sreesanth was part of India’s fine line of pace battery for a number of years, since making his debut in 2005.
His aggression and raw pace excited many bowling enthusiasts until the spot-fixing case unravelled against him in 2015.
Sree proved to be the good-luck charm for India when it comes to playing in the world cup finals. The enigmatic seamer was part of winning XI which fielded in the finals of 2007 T20 and 2011 ODI World Cups.
Recently, Sreesanth revealed the name of the cricketer in the Indian team from whom he received backing to get featured into the playing XI ahead of the summit clash against Sri Lanka in 2011.
Initially, Sreesanth wasn’t part of India’s world cup plans either. He came in as a replacement for Praveen Kumar who suffered an injury.
After going for over ten runs an over in India’s opening game against Bangladesh at Dhaka, Dhoni went ahead with a three-pronged pace attack featuring Zaheer Khan, Ashish Nehra and Munaf Patel.
The trio did exceptionally well in the run-up to finals until calamity struck the dressing room in the form of injury to Nehra.
“April 2, 2011, was the day and I thank Sachin paaji for taking me to Coach Gary Kirsten and telling him that ‘Sreesanth should play’ (in the World Cup final against Sri Lanka) and thanks to Dhonibhai for giving me that opportunity,” was quoted as saying in an interview with rediff.com.
Further, he remained thankful for the likes of Harbhajan Singh, Virender Sehwag, and Yuvraj Singh who favoured Sachin’s decision.
“Virubhai (Virender Sehwag), Yuvraj, Bhajjipa (Harbhajan Singh), everyone supported my inclusion. I remember Bhajjipa calling me the night before the final and saying ‘Shantha, tu khel raha hai kal, so jaa abhi’ (you are playing in the final tomorrow, so better sleep now),” Sreesanth concluded.
However, Sachin’s gamble did not pay off as expected. Due to his erratic line and lengths, Sree could only bowl five overs and conceded 52 runs without picking any wicket.