July 2, 2013

Three heartwarming stories of redemption

Sreesanth, Warner and Amir remind us of why we love this sport

The news is full of stories of human beings who have let their side down, so thank heavens for the cosy, touchy-feely world of international cricket. It's not even Wednesday yet, and already this week our favourite sport has given us three heartwarming stories of redemption.

First up was Sreesanth. Whatever the outcome of the ongoing towel-themed legal proceedings, he will always be one of my favourites. Not only does he play cricket like an eight-year-old with a grudge, he is a one-man quote farm. Just point a voice recorder in his general direction, press record, poke him with a stick, then stand back. Given his loquacity and love of conversational tangents, it's no surprise he kept the police talking for 27 days.

In an interview to the Hindustan Times, he revealed, inter alia, that he'd been hedging his theological bets by keeping an idol of Ganesha and a picture of Jesus in his bag. When asked whether this whole unfortunate business had made him a stronger person, he stated that he was more of a lover than a fighter, which was slightly besides the point, but an interesting angle for his lawyer to try out during the summing up.

I suspect David Warner is more of a fighter than a lover, but Australia's favourite diminutive bar brawler is undergoing a spot of reputation cleansing. According to his new coach, Dave's slate has been wiped clean (again) and he is a new man.

"I don't know what's happened in the past," said Darren, somewhat unconvincingly. Still, it seems that David has impressed him hugely by turning up to cricket practice, trying quite hard at the cricket-practising, and not punching anyone in the process. It has now been two and a half weeks since his last disciplinary hearing, and if he keeps this up, he could become the game's most unlikely role model since Douglas Jardine took that job as goodwill ambassador at the League of Nations.

And speaking of role models, everyone's favourite floppy-haired fixer, Mohammad Amir, is back, proving once again that spot-fixing is a young man's game. Whilst oldies Salman Butt and Mohammed Asif are beyond hope, Amir may still get to use PCB's gym facilities as he undergoes his five-year warm-up. By the time he makes his international return, he may have forgotten how to bowl, but he will have biceps bigger than Bahawalpur.

Between trips to the gym and studying for his diploma in "Why Fixing Is Wrong" at the College of Lame Excuses, that half decade will surely fly by. In any case, a five-year ban for a Pakistani cricketer is in reality only a two-and-a-half year ban, because he would almost certainly have been randomly dropped for half of those five years anyway.

Andrew Hughes is a writer currently based in England. He tweets here