S Sreesanth had a strange sort of match — he did all right in the first innings, with one for 16 off 12, but second innings saw the worst of him. He began with a wild first spell, grew wilder as he seemed to search for rhythm. He chattered with himself and the batsmen, he tried different kinds of run-ups, he tried different kinds of ploys to shake the bats.
Nothing worked — not even gamesmanship. It only bought him trouble, it cost him half his match fee.
In non-contact sport, making contact except shaking hands is frowned upon, and Sreesanth got his knuckles rapped late on Monday evening.
Sreesanth had tried to walk through Michael Vaughan on Tuesday morning, which resulted in a jolt to Vaughan, who reacted with a withering glare that could have killed a lesser showman that the paceman.
The hearing before match referee Ranjan Madugalle lasted about 20 minutes, and Sreesanth pleaded guilty to the charge of causing a “collision he had every opportunity to avoid”.
The ICC Code of Conduct, specifically clause 2.4 refers to “inappropriate and deliberate physical contact between players in the course of play.”
“I have no problem with players being combative on the field,” said Madugalle, “But there is a line they cannot cross and Sreesanth crossed that line when he barged past Vaughan. Cricket is a non-contact sport and any deviation from that fact is completely unacceptable, a point I made to Sreesanth in handing down my verdict,” Madugalle said.
Not mentioned was the beamer at Kevin Pietersen that, apparently, had slipped out of Sreesanth’s hands. Or the bouncer around the stumps that was delivered from at least two feet past the crease. That’s not done, and Sreesanth knows that.
Sreesanth has a penchant for the dramatic, the jigs and the jousts, but there is a line that must not be crossed. Tuesday’s reprimand and censure would probably make him understand that.