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Sree won’t change ways

cricket Updated: Jan 17, 2008 01:10 IST
Abhijeet Kulkarni
Abhijeet Kulkarni
Hindustan Times
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The image of Sreesanth wielding his bat like a sword after hitting Andre Nel for a six in South Africa made more news than his bowling performance in that series. After his run-in with Australia's Andrew Symonds during the one-day series at home the 24-year-old's firebrand style has been a point of debate among the critics.

So when the Kerala speedster took the field for the first time after recovering from the shoulder injury in the Air India All India Inter Institutional cricket tournament in Mumbai, he was sure to be the crowd puller. A handful of domestic and international stars graced the semifinal between Indian Oil Corporation and Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL) at the Parsee Gymkhana on Wednesday. But Sreesanth remained the centre of attraction for cricket lovers as well as the media.

After an update on the recovery, the conversation drifted towards the speedster's aggression and how it has made him a household name.

Sreesanth is quick to say that he does not do it for the camera. "People have even asked me whether I am different when the matches are not live," he told HT. "I am not. Even when I played the Under-13 or Ranji Trophy games I played with the same intensity. "Even in this tournament I haven't held myself back," he said. "In the first match itself one of the Food Corporation of India players (Rajinder Bisht) had to be taken to the hospital after he was hit on the helmet."

Probe him for the reason behind his aggression and Sreesanth attributes it to his growing up days.

"I grew up playing with my elder brothers' friends who were almost 14 years older than me.

"I guess I had to make a point that I was not scared of playing against anyone. And now I play my cricket with passion and don't regret what I am doing."