Shanthakumaran Nair Sreesanth, commonly known as S Sreesanth, was widely popular for his lively celebrations on the cricket field during his playing days. He was often seen getting involved in verbal spats with opponent players. However, his most famous celebration didn’t come when he was bowling; it actually happened while he was using his willow to score some runs.
The incident occured when India was on South Africa tour in 2007. During the first Test match in Johannesburg, the Proteas pacer Andre Nel bowled a bouncer and said something to the Kerala-born cricketer which fired him up.
On the next ball, Sreesanth stepped forward and hit Nel’s delivery for a six. He didn’t just stop there, when Sree reached the non-striker’s end he was seen dancing all the way which entertained one and all.
Now, after years of that episode, Sreesanth has spoken about the madness he displayed on the very day. In a recent Instagram Live session with Sportskeeda, Sreesanth recalled two incidents from that tour.
The first occurrence is related to former South Africa batsman Jacques Rudolph who had claimed that the Indian speedster is ‘overrated’ and he didn’t consider Sreesanth as a ‘fast bowler’.
“We had gone to South Africa in 2006. We were playing in Potchefstroom against a team captained by Jacques Rudolph. When he was asked about Sreesanth, he claimed not to know me. He also said that they do not consider me a fast bowler since I was ‘too slow’, and that I was overrated and wouldn’t make a difference in the series. History is going to repeat in the sense that India will come here and lose,” said Sreesanth.
Sreesanth replied to Rudolph’s claim in the most brilliant way possible as he went on to dismiss Rudolph for golden ducks in the practice game.
“The next day, I got him with my first ball. Then he got out the first ball in the second innings. Three years later, when I was playing for Warwickshire, he was the Yorkshire captain. We were joking around, but I got him out the first ball once,” the 37-year-old added.
The second incident was, of-course related to fast bowler Nel, whom Sreesanth had slammed a huge six followed by his entertaining dance on the pitch. Sreesanth termed it as ‘momentary madness’. He stated that it all happened after Nel’s continuous comments that ‘Indians don’t have a heart’. Sree said he was left exasperated by the Proteas bowler.
“Andre Nel was talking a lot. He kept saying that Indians don’t have a heart and that they (South Africa) were the better team. I wanted to tell him to look at the scoreboard once; we had the upper hand. I had gotten out for a duck in the first innings, and a lot of our better batsmen hadn’t scored too many runs that day,” Sreesanth added further.
“It was some momentary madness. I had that memory of Dada (Sourav Ganguly) flinging his shirt over his head after the Natwest Trophy final in 2002. I basically replicated the action of taming a wild horse with the bat. I didn’t get out to Nel in that entire series. I even hit him for three boundaries in Durban, but I didn’t dance there,” concluded the two-times World Cup winner.