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Persistence is Sreesanth?s mantra

From leg-spin to 'keeping, this promising paceman from Kerala has done it all, writes G Krishnan.

india Updated: Feb 23, 2006 13:07 IST
G Krishnan

Things are moving fast for India’s latest fast bowler, S Sreesanth. He took up the craft a mere five years ago. Today, he is not only among the team's young stars but is also seen as one with commercial potential.

Sreesanth recently signed up Mumbai-based sports marketers Percept D’Mark, who will manage his affairs for three years. “The deal was signed a month ago,” Tina Verghese, vice-president, HISA (Hero Indian Sports Academy) told HT on Tuesday. Tina added that they expected to get “three or four” endorsements for Sreesanth in “six to eight months.”

The right-arm pacer revealed to HT on Tuesday that he took up fast bowling only about five years ago. “I was bowling leg-spin and keeping wickets till about mid-2000,” he said. “One fine day I thought I will bowl fast. I was lucky. It was a schools match between Chinmaya and Bhavans. I got six or seven wickets in that game. Since then I have been bowling fast.”

 

Sreesanth used to admire Shane Warne and Anil Kumble.

“I used to copy Anilbhai’s action, especially the way he tossed the ball up. I used to bowl fast with his action. Then, it was in Ajay Verma (former Kerala players) sir’s camp that I learnt fast bowling."

"I realised fast bowlers had a chance after three Kerala fast bowlers -- Tinu Yohannan, Prashant Chandran and Fazil Muhammad -- were picked up for the first batch of the National Cricket Academy in Bangalore in May 2000," said Sreesanth.

"My elder brother, Deepu Santhan, motivated me to bowl faster. I also watched cricket on TV. I was a big fan of Allan Donald and thought I had his bowling action initially. I went to the MRF Pace Foundation and got everything in order.”

Known to be real quick bowler, Sreesanth has gone over six runs per over in each of his nine one-day internationals for India. He is quite happy with it as long as the management is happy with it.

“It is good to get back into rhythm. I am trying to stick to the basics. You get hit because of the shorter boundaries. But then, we have the bats men who are capable of chasing suc cessfully. I don't worry about it as I have the team management's support.”

He does have the team’s support but he also needs to make slight alterations in his bowling if he has to contain runs and pick up wickets at regular intervals. Viewed as a potential with bright future along with Rudra Pratap Singh during last year’s Challenger Series in Mohali, where he was the man of the series, Sreesanth has the appetite to bowl fast.

Also key for the bowler is to keep away from injuries. Words of wisdom from Waqar Younis and Mike Holding, if put to good effect, would go a long way in improving his skills.

The 23-year-old from Kothamangalam said he learnt a lot from Waqar and Holding. “I was lucky to meet Waqar on January 1 (when Pakistan visited India for a veterans series). I had a halfhour session in Kochi and he asked me to be persistent and said he liked my action. I followed certain things that he told me.

The immediate challenge for Sreesanth will be to impress the selectors in the Board President's XI vs England game in Baroda from February 23-25 and get a berth in the Test side too.

First Published: Feb 23, 2006 11:51 IST