India’s 100th win in a Test match came at Kanpur and showed how cricket can change the fortunes of players in a matter of days. If it was Sri Lanka who dominated the Test in Ahmedabad, it was India all the way in Kanpur as they won in style.
This Test also saw the comeback of Sreesanth after being out of the team for over 19 months. Some of that time was due to an injury, but there was also a sense of despair in official circles about his tendency to be over-the-top aggressive and upset everybody. It wasn’t getting him any wickets and, if anything, it took energy and focus away from his bowling.
The young man may have been carried away with the media mileage he was getting with his antics, but the prolonged spell away would have made him look back and introspect. The BCCI’s warning letter could also have been an eye-opener and it was just the shock he needed.
When a player does well, he gets a lot of hangers-on who are not well-wishers but only interested in being with a known face. So they do not tell the player that he is on the wrong track for fear of losing the proximity.
Sreesanth’s bowling in the first innings was the kind of ‘run in and bowl hard’ that India needed. His success should spur him on to reclaim a place in the team and start bowling teams out. What was most refreshing about Sreesanth was that, at no stage, did he go over the top to celebrate taking a wicket, simply folding his hands in prayer to thank the almighty for another scalp. The smile after a wicket suits him better than a snarl and he will win more fans with this attitude. In no way does it take away from his exuberance and hopefully he will not get misled again.
Everybody makes mistakes in life and craves for a chance to remedy them. Sreesanth, after a lifeline by the BCCI selectors, has grasped it with both hands.
There was never a doubt about his ability since nobody has bowled with a straighter seam position in recent times than him. It was reminiscent of Kapil Dev and Sreesanth’s outswinger can be as lethal as the great man’s, if he can get it even closer to the off-stump than he is at the moment.