Sreesanth retires from all forms of cricket after a tumultuous career

The 39-year-old played 27 Tests, 53 ODIs and 10 T20Is for India, picking up 87, 75 and seven wickets respectively.

World Cup-winning India fast bowler S Sreesanth, one of the best outswing bowlers in the post-Kapil Dev era, retired from all forms of domestic cricket on Wednesday, drawing curtains on his tumultuous career.

Having made his international debut in an ODI against Sri Lanka at Nagpur on October 25, 2006, Sreesanth went on to win the inaugural T20 World Cup in 2007 and also the coveted ODI World Cup in 2011 under Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s captaincy.

The 39-year-old played 27 Tests, 53 ODIs and 10 T20Is for India, picking up 87, 75 and seven wickets respectively.

He was last seen in action during Kerala’s Ranji Trophy match against Meghalaya last month when he scalped two batters in their innings and 166-run victory.

Making his announcement in a series of tweets, Sreesanth said he has chosen to end his 25 years’ career for the next generation of cricketers.

“It has been an honor to represent my family, my teammates, and the people of India. Nd everyone who loves the game. With much sadness but without regret, I say this with a heavy heart: I am retiring from the Indian domestic (first class and all formats) cricket,” the Kerala-born pacer wrote.

“For the next generation of cricketers. I have chosen to end my first class cricket career. This decision is mine alone, and although I know this will not bring me happiness, it is the right and honorable action to take at this time in my life. I’ve cherished every moment,” he added.

“Today is a difficult day for me, but it is also a day of reflection and gratitude. Playing for Ecc, Ernakulam district, various different League and tournament teams, Kerala State Cricket Association, BCCI, Warwickshire county cricket team, Indian Airlines cricket team, BPCL and ICC.

Sreesanth also remembered the incredible moments in his career.

“My most memorable delivery was an outswing Yorker to Darren Ganga in 2006 tour of Windies. Inswing Yorker toh sabhi daalte hai, outswing Yorker wasim bhai aur Waqar bhai daalte thee. Jacques Kallis delivery will come after that,” Sreesanth told PTI in Twitter Space chat organised by journalist Ravish Bist.

Asked what’s his future plan, maverick man said: “Chala jataa hoon kisike dhoon mein, dhadakte dil ke tarane liye.” His chequered International career may have lasted less than six years but the temperamental pacer gave good, bad and ugly moments that will always be remembered.

Be it an incoming bouncer to dismiss South African great Kallis in 2010 Durban Test or that legendary celebration after he slogged Andre Nel for a six right after a verbal exchange with the fast bowler during the South Africa tour of 2006-07, Sreesanth was full of life.

The right arm pacer took the most memorable catch of his life when he had Misbah-ul-Haq out after the batter scooped the ball to give Indians their only T20 World Cup winning moment at Johannesburg in 2007.

But his career hit a low in 2013 when the temperamental pacer was banned for life for his alleged involvement in IPL spot-fixing scam.

He had once said that he didn’t want his children to grow up and ‘Google’ his name to find something that till date he denies having been involved in.

Sreesanth became a prisoner of his own device. His aggression which at times looked put on and overboard did not earn him friends.

The reason why Harbhajan Singh back handed slap or being jailed for match fixing had skeptics believing that he may have done something wrong.

It took him seven years to clear his name and get back to cricket only last year.

Sreesanth came into prominence during a Challenger Trophy in the early part of last decade. He bowled a fast and furious spell in which he trapped the iconic Sachin Tendulkar leg before and came into the limelight.

When Sreesanth landed the ball on seam at 140 plus clicks, there was always a possibility something would happen.

It was an era where three pacers burst onto the scene — Munaf Patel, RP Singh and Sreesanth himself.

His inconsistency and flippant nature and mindless aggression did become his undoing but in between there were flashes of brilliance.

Sreesanth was key to India winning their maiden Test win in the Rainbow Nation.

It was in December 2006 Johannesburg Test, when Sreesanth bowled a dream spell of 5/40 as India shot out South Africa for 84 in the first Test to set up their 123-run win.

But the delivery that entire country remembered was in 2010 in Durban where his bouncer had Kallis in a tangle.

Needing 303 to wrap the series 2-0, the Proteas were cruising at 63 in 12 overs when Sreesanth triggered the collapse dismissing skipper Graeme Smith following an altercation.

Sreesanth then had Hashim Amla but still the hosts were in a strong position with in-form duo of Kallis and AB de Villiers in the middle as they needed 192 runs on the fourth day.

He produced the ball of his life when he had it take off quickly with an angle as the South African great failed to get him out of the line and took an edge, with his body arching like a bow — an image that had a lasting impression.

The Kerala cricketer also plied his trade with Punjab Kings, Kochi Tuskers Kerala and Rajasthan Royals in the Indian Premier League (IPL). He made his IPL debut against MS Dhoni’s Chennai Super Kings (CSK) in 2008.

Sreesanth in Indian cricket is a classic case of what could have been.

Most will remember him for wrong reasons but for a generation he will be immortalised in Ravi Shastri’s voice — “Sreesanth takes the catch, India win the World Cup”.

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