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India vs South Africa: Andre Nel recalls tussle with S Sreesanth and Indian’s famous dance

The Wanderers Test between Indian cricket team and South Africa cricket team during the 2006 tour is remembered for the rare and famous victory by the visitors and also for S Sreesanth’s dance celebration after hitting Andre Nel for a six.

cricket Updated: Jan 22, 2018 17:34 IST
Devarchit Varma
Devarchit Varma
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
South Africa vs India,SA vs IND,India vs South Africa
S Sreestanth of Indian cricket team breaks into his now famous dance after hitting South Africa cricket team pacer Andre Nel for a six during the Wanderers Test in 2006.(AFP)

The Wanderers Test during India cricket team’s tour of South Africa in 2006 is remembered for several reasons: India bowled out the hosts for a paltry 84 runs in the first innings, and went on to win the match by 123 runs despite none of their batsmen scoring a century.

The game is also remembered for S Sreesanth’s heroics — he took eight wickets in the match and had on-field tussle with South Africa cricket team pacer Andre Nel which ended with one of the most hilarious incidences on the cricket field.

After being poked at by Nel, who began targeting the India pacer with short balls and a barrage of words -- saying that Sreesanth had ‘no heart’ -- during the visitors’ second innings, the Indian tail-ender lost his cool.

Sreesanth swing at one delivery and send it flying into the stands, right over Nel’s head to meet the challenge thrown by the bowler. Humbled by the strike, Nel turned back to his mark without any reaction.

However, having met the ball with the meatiest part of the bat and seeing it flying into the stands, Sreesanth, already down at the non-striker’s end, suddenly broke into a dance that left everyone watching in splits.

“When I saw him walk out, the first thing I thought was ‘hit him on the head’. To be fair, that was generally my thought no matter who was batting,” Nel told Cricbuzz, recalling the incident.

“To be honest, I can’t remember what I said. It was a heat of the moment thing and probably something along the lines of ‘I’ve got more heart than you’. I honestly couldn’t say for sure,” he added.

Years down the line, Nel claims he did not see one of the most hilarious celebrations on the cricket field.

“I never saw him celebrate. When you’ve been hit for a six after giving a guy a lot of lip you have no choice but to put your tail between your legs and turn around. But it was great fun. I always looked for a fight on the field and loved it when someone would come back at me,” he said.

The former South African pacer said he and Sreesanth made peace after the match.

“I was the first to walk up to my opponent and shake his hand after the game. I had a laugh with Sreesanth back in the change room. He was such a character and I loved my tussle with him. I saw him around when I played in the Indian Premier League (IPL) and we always spoke about that day. I know he enjoyed it as much as I did. I know the fans did too. Cricket is meant to be exciting and I hope people know how incredibly proud I was representing my country,” he said.

First Published: Jan 22, 2018 17:22 IST