Sunday, January 9, 2011

The temperamental Sreesanth

To be frank, I have never been a Sreesanth fan. Not that I doubt the talent Sreesanth has, but its his temperament that I am not too fond of (ask Hayden and Symonds, they didn't like it either). He was picked after a face-off with none other than Sachin Tendulkar in the Challenger Series and obviously didn't need too much more publicity to make it to India's team. His wrist position and superb seam position is known to anyone who follows the game closely. Every now and then he produces a delivery that make the best of the batters look ordinary, particularly on pitches giving him some kind of assistance.

How often have we seen Indian pacers having a word with the batsmen ?? One incident that comes to mind is the famous Venkatesh Prasad-Aamir Sohail fight. But then, that started from Sohail's side, so the answer is probably not too often. Sreesanth is one of those rare bowlers who not only know how to bowl but are quite talkative as well. His verbal intimidation of Graeme Smith in the second test that India won has been talked about a lot. What he said was definitely not over the 'line' and would have hurt. So, he can bowl alright and he can talk alright.

But, the big problem is his inconsistency. What is the point in bowling a 'jaffa' now and then, when you are leaking runs anyways. In fact a while back every time I saw him bowl, it just reminded me off Ajit Agarkar. The Mumbai lad certainly has a lot in common with this Kerela pacer. Both are quicker in the air than they seem, both have the ability to pick wickets and of course, both have high economy rates. I used to feel Sree was just an improved version of Agarkar, in terms of bowling of course. Surely Agarkar was a way better batsmen and fielder than Sreesanth. But that's not our concern right now, the real concern is to make sure that his bowling doesn't go the Agarkar way.

India has won only two test matches till date in South Africa and in both of them VVS Laxman and Sreesanth have played key roles. This is evidence enough that Sreesanth is way too talented to end up playing a few ODIs or Tests and then become just another domestic cricketer. To prolong his stay in the Indian team and to make sure India is able to fully utilize his talent, Sreesanth needs guidance. All he needs is some backing from Zaheer Khan and such experienced heads. Often, such talents have good capability but where they lack is using their brains according to the situation. There are many times when he is trying to much and ends up losing the plot. That is where somebody should come in and have a chat with him. Maybe the skipper Dhoni or maybe some other senior player.

His nature has unpredictability. He bowled a superb spell in Durban as India went on win the test match. But, in the first spell of the very next test, he wasn't in rhythm and bowled some useless deliveries. He did come back to well in the second spell, but there will be times when it might be too little too late. So maybe he should bowl a couple of overs in practice, before India go out to bowl (remember Wasim Akram's tip to Irfan Pathan).

If he can iron out a few of these things, he will be the perfect partner for our spearhead Zaheer Khan. He has a couple of things on his side as well. First is age and second is that Dhoni and the current bunch of selectors have faith on him. So, he isn't under pressure for sure. All he needs to do is keep himself patient, focused and listen to seniors. Patience is absolutely essential because he plays in India where pitches will not assist him like they do in South Africa.

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  1. I really like your blog. Very interesting. I am also doing one on sport, mainly cricket and football.

    Please could you follow me on that since I am following you. Cheers. Also, I will link you to an article on jokes about Australia which I know you will love.

  2. Good one freehit. I agree with most of your points here. Sreesanth is a special talent and he should be nurtured and protected. I think BCCI, the coach and the team management has a got a role to play in ensuring this bowler and Ishant are not wasted away. Ishant is another fine talent that is going wayward. Recently I was having a chat with Soulberry on this topic and we feel Ishant should focus on long formats. He would be better off playing a season of county, than IPL. It will make him richer in the long run.

  3. Bala,

    Personally, I like Ishant Sharma way more than Sreesanth. I feel Sree might be more talented but Ishant is much relaxed and focussed. He needs some support as you rightly said and some luck as well.

    I cannot agree more on the last two lines that you have written. A season of English county might make him matured like Zak has become, while IPL will just dent his confidence because of flat pitches, short boundaries and hard hitting batsmen.

  4. you've hit the nail on the coffin...

    expecting india to produce "real" "fast" bowlers(like dale steyn, johnson or siddle) is like giving english book (Dead pitches) to the school children(bowlers) and ask them to learn spanish(fast bowling) from it...

    We don't have lively pitches that is why, even a batsmen of the caliber of raina has problems facing the chin music...

    No lively pitches implies...difficulty in producing qualitative and technical batsmen and bowlers...

    But then i do not understand how did pak produce bowlers like Akram, Waqar, Akhtar while facing similar problems as we do...

    I suggest sending cricketers to english county and australia in some bigger numbers regularly...

    Or maybe shifting some matches of the IPL to australia or england (this might generate the untapped revenue for BCCI as they dont seem to be working for betterment of cricketing conditions without any profit motive)...

  5. Good article. Indeed he's god loads of talent but a fickle attention span.

    My worry is he too is now a 130sKer at most when he used to be a 140+ kpher. he's lost something in thi time without significant progress in exchange.


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