The tika on the forehead was prominent. Eyes shut and palms pressed tightly against each other, resembling a pious god man in a trance, S Sreesanth thanked the almighty before anyone else while talking to a herd of reporters. He gladly let the media hound him minutes upon his release from Tihar Jail on Tuesday evening. The bowler must have felt a cold chill in his spine when asked about his cricketing career, knowing well that cricket authorities are unlikely to let him back in the fray soon.
Following the path of a Bhakti Yogi, Sreesanth’s days in Tihar were spent chanting the name of god. “In every ward, we have make-shift temples and mosques. Sreesanth, alone in his cell, would spend almost the whole day performing his religious practices,” Sunil Gupta, PRO Tihar, said.
Though bail for Sreesanth is a defeat for Delhi Police, jailors at Tihar are happy to see his back. “We are always happy when someone gets bail. With 13,000 prisoners inside, it becomes a challenge. So even though one prisoner getting out is just one drop in the ocean, we are happy. Our duty is the well-being and rehabilitation of a prisoner. And Sreesanth was very disciplined and silent. Though conservative, he was easily communicable. He confined himself to pooja and a bit of reading,” an insider told HT.
Change of cars
There ensued a comedy of errors after Sreesanth flew back to Kochi on Wednesday morning. With his flight arriving earlier than expected, at 9.25am, he couldn’t be greeted by his father at the airport. “Close to 60-70 people, including the media, welcomed him. But his father, who was keen to meet him before anyone else, couldn’t make it on time. Wearing a few garlands, Sreesanth and his friends left for his brother-in-law Madhu Balakrishnan’s house in Tripunithura, where his parents too were staying. About 20 minutes after Sreesanth left, he received a call from his father. He changed cars midway to ride home with his dad,” said a source.
Having reached his brother-in-law’s house, Sreesanth ignored the media and ran to his mother, awaiting her son at the door with a garland. They hugged and cried together, onlookers were touched. “He has come home after a long gap of 27 days. We all were crying out of happiness. He was very hungry so we prepared him his favourite breakfast. Whatever he always likes. I just want to spend time with my son now. Nobody should suffer so much. Nobody deserves this,” Savithri Devi, Sreesanth’s mother, told HT.
Now, Sreesanth is keen on visiting his favourite ground in Edapalli, where he wants to play tennis ball cricket with friends. “He is itching to play,” added the source. Sreesanth is also keen on introducing his girlfriend to parents, revealed the source. “She is a north Indian girl, and his parents are conventional. But Sree wants to settle down soon.”
“There is lot of sympathy for Sreesanth right now. Especially when MCOCA was slapped on his case, people felt it was harsh.”
KCA to wait for BCCI
Though Sreesanth intends to get back to cricketing shape, he still doesn’t have the blessings of KCA. “Since he is suspended by the BCCI, we cannot take a different view.
He will have to train privately since KCA grounds won’t be made available to him. We have sympathy for him, but from a legal point of view, he is a contracted player of BCCI. We will await a decision from the BCCI before letting him back in the fold,” TC Matthew, KCA secretary, told HT.