England v India, 2nd npower Test, Trent Bridge, 1st day July 29, 2011

Sreesanth shuts out his former self

Sreesanth made up for the absence of Zaheer Khan with plenty of skill and measured aggression, showing no signs of the volatility he's been known for
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For the better part of the first day at Trent Bridge, Zaheer Khan went from being the most valuable member of the Indian team to a blip on the horizon. The thick, constant cloud that loomed over Trent Bridge as heavily as the news about his hamstring injury had all week, gave India's bowling attack the necessary cover it needed to make its presence felt. What is more, like in the British film noir classic, The Third Man turned up at Nottingham and suddenly India found their place in the series.

After the miserable defeat at Lords, India genuinely believed that the balance had tipped towards England, only because they did not have a third fully-fit member of their pace attack. Old scorebooks can't ever be rewritten but Friday's play featured a live demonstration of that argument - in India's incisive, switched-on Third Man, the indefatigable Sreesanth.

On a day meant for mealy, contained medium-pace swing and seam, given an extra blessing by the skies above and a track below that would make Britain's senior citizens lace up their boots and line up to bowl, India didn't get much wrong. There is much that Sreesanth can and has got wrong in his corkscrew of an international career so far. When he gets it right though, he swings it on par with the best bowlers of his generation.

Sreesanth wasn't the lone performer among India's bowlers today. England's wickets were shared three each by the medium pacers, Praveen Kumar being sharp and parsimonious and the newly-shorn Ishant Sharma spiky and probing. Yet it was the smoothness and the simplicity of Sreesanth's return after a gap of seven months that gave India's bowling the sharp teeth it needs. At the start of the 11th over, Sreesanth stood at the top of his run and from there would have seen what lay before him. The assistance of the kind rarely found by Indian bowlers during their careers and team-mates who had spent an hour making the ball whistle past and catcall the batsmen. It was all on his side. If Sreesanth had an opponent to be beaten down from there, it was the petulant, shoulder-barging showboater that turned up in Trent Bridge four years ago.

Sreesanth locked that door of that memory, threw away the key and chose to find control over line and shape. Off the fourth ball of his first over, Jonathan Trott, England's most in-form batsman, nicked one of his patented outswingers and Sreesanth was on his way. Trent Bridge, whose cheery, boisterous crowd had booed him as he fielded, saw a man who had pared his cricket down to just his skill. The reasons as to why that happened will always be a mystery; maybe it was out of respect for the bowler whose place Sreesanth had taken or just the awareness that opportunities of this kind are rare and precious. So, Sreesanth bowled with menace but not offence, he was aggressive, but measured in his use of this aggression.

Just after the World Cup, India's bowling coach Eric Simons had spoken at length to ESPNcricinfo, about the Indian bowling and said of Sreesanth, "If Sreesanth had grown up in England, he would be unbelieveable in terms of his ability to swing the ball." A popular theory about him is that had he regularly played under Sourav Ganguly, he would have had a far more uninterrupted career and at least 50 more Test wickets.

The day before the game Dhoni, who brought him on as first change as an insurance policy against a cataclysmic opening spell, said yesterday it "seemed" Sreesanth had changed. "The more he has played the better he has become." The wicket of Kevin Pietersen came at the end of an eye-to-eye tussle over three overs in which Sreesanth took punishment, soaked in two imperious boundaries off short balls and finally pocketed him with a juicy one leaving off stump. He signed off his second spell by dislodging Matt Prior, who was first drawn out and then opened up nicking the ball to Dravid at first slip.

"He's the sort of bowler who would like to bowl at Trent Bridge every week," Stuart Broad said later, indicating that England's bowlers would try to emulate the tightness of Sreesanth and the India's medium-pacers. Ideally, Sreesanth himself said at the media conference, he would like to take Trent Bridge track wherever he goes. He was both courteous and cheeky, saying, "Normally we only see batsmen-friendly wickets and this was a bowler's wicket, why not?" He then was generous in his approval of the ninth-wicket partnership of 73 between Broad and Graeme Swann, saying it had made the game competitive.

Coaching Sreesanth, Simons had said, was about balance. "You have got to be careful to not curb the fire... if I was a football coach and I took the fire out of Wayne Rooney's belly, would I make him a worse footballer? You've got to keep the uniqueness of the person, but help him with how to practice better and understand himself better." In recent months, Sreesanth believes that the key to his bowling has been him understanding his art after a brief stint with Allan Donald at Warwickshire (and no doubt time spent in frequent wilderness). "Where to bowl, how to bowl, what to bowl, the stance of the batsman... I just learned little things. When you are fit and raring to go, all you think is run in and bowl fast."

He ran in today but rather than shatter the speed gun, he bowled fiercely. Before he wandered out of the squash court where reporters had tried to get him to explain just why and how he had managed to be so quiet over the last six months, he couldn't resist a Sreesanth-ism. He frowned, looked into the distance for a second, sifted through his memory and found a new aphorism he could well stick into his Twitter account. He said, "Silence is the speech of the spiritual seeker." England must think they would rather have the loony brat back. India have their fingers crossed.

Sharda Ugra is senior editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • POSTED BY on | July 30, 2011, 15:00 GMT

    Agree 100% with Swarzi, play 4 pacemen, time to show harbhajan the door!!

  • POSTED BY swarzi on | July 30, 2011, 13:02 GMT

    I think Harbhijan should be dropped for tha rest of that test series in England; and play the four pacemen. Yuvraj's legspin seems to be far more effective than Harbhijan's off spin under those conditions in that country. Pace bowlers who swing the ball are the machines that take the bulk of the wickets. I think India should just put senior player protocol aside and play their best team under the conditions, for the rest of the series.

  • POSTED BY Monishjoshy on | July 30, 2011, 12:08 GMT

    I admire him for being the intensive care unit (ICU) for India. I deem him above all other bowlers the reason simply when ever he plays well, he makes the team win. He has never been for amending his stats. ...I remember when he made us proud on winning the first time in South Africa(5/35), again in Australia, Pakistan, West Indies, Against SriLanka in Sub-continent, 6 months before in South Africa...and Now in England...and that too when India is on the verge of losing the rank1.

  • POSTED BY dhanup on | July 30, 2011, 11:02 GMT

    A bowler like praveen kumar can perform in swingy wickets of lords and Trenbridge. We can't expect him to perform in dead pitches of subcontinant with his ordinary pace.What happend to Munaf Patel?..In early days of his career he used to bowl consistently at around 145km/hr where is his pace?.Mr right captain adviced him to contain his pace and changed his bowling style. Now lets talk about dhoni.Where is that hard hitting batsmen?..where is his aggression?.Play with ur heart man.We want you to be know as the most distructive batsmen in the world.You have now changed ur style and that reflects on your perfomance.So, atleast allow players like sreesanth to play with his heart, his natural aggression.Please don't have an hidden agenda against any of ur players

    We want to see you lifting many more trophy's for india and u can do that.Just change ur attitude don't go after money and ads. We want our old hard hitting dhoni to lead our team..So pls be urself...chak de india

  • POSTED BY dhanup on | July 30, 2011, 11:02 GMT

    And about sreesanth, he is one of the most underated bowler.How on the earth a player can perform without his captains support and back up.Just think from sreesanth's point of view.Think about mental pressure dhoni is giving him.There is no doubt that on his day he is even better than the so-called best bowlers.He is a wicket taking bowler so don't bother about his economy rate.There is no point in bowling 2-3 days in test cricket in good economy rate without taking wicket.Wickets wins the match.He is a match winner.To rule the world cricket we need wicket taking bowlers.Zaheer and sree are our only options.He just need to perform in 3-4 matches out of 10 he plays.Because on his day he can do the damage

  • POSTED BY dhanup on | July 30, 2011, 11:01 GMT

    Even, zaheer khan was left out of the team, that gave him time to understand his faults and rectify it the problem in his action. He played in the domestic league and county cubs that gave him confidence.Taking wickets at any level of the game gives confidence to the bowler.Bhaji is one the most lethal spinner and there is no doubt about it. Actually, dhoni is doing the wrong thing by giving him additional chances in foriegn wickets.This is only adding pressure on him.Give him a break, let him understand his mistakes and play in the domestic league. Getting wickets in the domestic league will bring back his confidence and aggression. Bhaji was known for his aggression in early days. Now, look at his body language.So dhoniji please don't destory his career.He is a born champion.But, only thing is his lack of confidence

  • POSTED BY dhanup on | July 30, 2011, 11:01 GMT

    Dhoni is a man with 'midas touch'.He is one of the best captain india has ever seen. But, nowadays it seems dhoni's man management skill is not good as it used to be. Never forget that great ganguly is the man who started this superb journey of Team India. Ganguly found raw talent in bhaji and yuvraj and helped them to polish their skills.He always stood by his players during the lean patches of their career. It's not about giving extra chances to out of form players, it's all about giving moral support and backing players.

  • POSTED BY vijaysr on | July 30, 2011, 10:31 GMT

    i really like watch sree bowl to right handers on any seaming pitch..to left handers he is just any ordinary bowler searching for line and length.. no one can deny his ability.. the thing is he lacks control of hi delivery at times

  • POSTED BY on | July 30, 2011, 10:02 GMT

    three medium pacers...praveen apart...sreesanth & ishant are fast medium, if not quick..when will the use if the term "medium pacers" be given up by the Indian writers and commentators...some things never change..

  • POSTED BY biju on | July 30, 2011, 9:32 GMT

    Sreesanth is always a match winner and he has not enjoyed the kind of respect he deserve in the team. When ever team needed he has delivered but no body was ready to accept that it was him. With out his snotter to Kallis in Durban test india would not have won that test. with out his yorker to Hyden in the 20-20 world cup semifinals in RSA India would not have reached the final. He is a very passionate aggressive cricketer and he most misunderstood by team and the crowd. He is right silence the speech of a spiritual seeker and let him control his emotions in a spiritual way. Good luck sree

  • POSTED BY on | July 30, 2011, 15:00 GMT

    Agree 100% with Swarzi, play 4 pacemen, time to show harbhajan the door!!

  • POSTED BY swarzi on | July 30, 2011, 13:02 GMT

    I think Harbhijan should be dropped for tha rest of that test series in England; and play the four pacemen. Yuvraj's legspin seems to be far more effective than Harbhijan's off spin under those conditions in that country. Pace bowlers who swing the ball are the machines that take the bulk of the wickets. I think India should just put senior player protocol aside and play their best team under the conditions, for the rest of the series.

  • POSTED BY Monishjoshy on | July 30, 2011, 12:08 GMT

    I admire him for being the intensive care unit (ICU) for India. I deem him above all other bowlers the reason simply when ever he plays well, he makes the team win. He has never been for amending his stats. ...I remember when he made us proud on winning the first time in South Africa(5/35), again in Australia, Pakistan, West Indies, Against SriLanka in Sub-continent, 6 months before in South Africa...and Now in England...and that too when India is on the verge of losing the rank1.

  • POSTED BY dhanup on | July 30, 2011, 11:02 GMT

    A bowler like praveen kumar can perform in swingy wickets of lords and Trenbridge. We can't expect him to perform in dead pitches of subcontinant with his ordinary pace.What happend to Munaf Patel?..In early days of his career he used to bowl consistently at around 145km/hr where is his pace?.Mr right captain adviced him to contain his pace and changed his bowling style. Now lets talk about dhoni.Where is that hard hitting batsmen?..where is his aggression?.Play with ur heart man.We want you to be know as the most distructive batsmen in the world.You have now changed ur style and that reflects on your perfomance.So, atleast allow players like sreesanth to play with his heart, his natural aggression.Please don't have an hidden agenda against any of ur players

    We want to see you lifting many more trophy's for india and u can do that.Just change ur attitude don't go after money and ads. We want our old hard hitting dhoni to lead our team..So pls be urself...chak de india

  • POSTED BY dhanup on | July 30, 2011, 11:02 GMT

    And about sreesanth, he is one of the most underated bowler.How on the earth a player can perform without his captains support and back up.Just think from sreesanth's point of view.Think about mental pressure dhoni is giving him.There is no doubt that on his day he is even better than the so-called best bowlers.He is a wicket taking bowler so don't bother about his economy rate.There is no point in bowling 2-3 days in test cricket in good economy rate without taking wicket.Wickets wins the match.He is a match winner.To rule the world cricket we need wicket taking bowlers.Zaheer and sree are our only options.He just need to perform in 3-4 matches out of 10 he plays.Because on his day he can do the damage

  • POSTED BY dhanup on | July 30, 2011, 11:01 GMT

    Even, zaheer khan was left out of the team, that gave him time to understand his faults and rectify it the problem in his action. He played in the domestic league and county cubs that gave him confidence.Taking wickets at any level of the game gives confidence to the bowler.Bhaji is one the most lethal spinner and there is no doubt about it. Actually, dhoni is doing the wrong thing by giving him additional chances in foriegn wickets.This is only adding pressure on him.Give him a break, let him understand his mistakes and play in the domestic league. Getting wickets in the domestic league will bring back his confidence and aggression. Bhaji was known for his aggression in early days. Now, look at his body language.So dhoniji please don't destory his career.He is a born champion.But, only thing is his lack of confidence

  • POSTED BY dhanup on | July 30, 2011, 11:01 GMT

    Dhoni is a man with 'midas touch'.He is one of the best captain india has ever seen. But, nowadays it seems dhoni's man management skill is not good as it used to be. Never forget that great ganguly is the man who started this superb journey of Team India. Ganguly found raw talent in bhaji and yuvraj and helped them to polish their skills.He always stood by his players during the lean patches of their career. It's not about giving extra chances to out of form players, it's all about giving moral support and backing players.

  • POSTED BY vijaysr on | July 30, 2011, 10:31 GMT

    i really like watch sree bowl to right handers on any seaming pitch..to left handers he is just any ordinary bowler searching for line and length.. no one can deny his ability.. the thing is he lacks control of hi delivery at times

  • POSTED BY on | July 30, 2011, 10:02 GMT

    three medium pacers...praveen apart...sreesanth & ishant are fast medium, if not quick..when will the use if the term "medium pacers" be given up by the Indian writers and commentators...some things never change..

  • POSTED BY biju on | July 30, 2011, 9:32 GMT

    Sreesanth is always a match winner and he has not enjoyed the kind of respect he deserve in the team. When ever team needed he has delivered but no body was ready to accept that it was him. With out his snotter to Kallis in Durban test india would not have won that test. with out his yorker to Hyden in the 20-20 world cup semifinals in RSA India would not have reached the final. He is a very passionate aggressive cricketer and he most misunderstood by team and the crowd. He is right silence the speech of a spiritual seeker and let him control his emotions in a spiritual way. Good luck sree

  • POSTED BY roxap on | July 30, 2011, 8:57 GMT

    sreesanth is not at all a amazing bowler, taking wickets once in a while does not make you a great bwoler, I respect Harsha a lot but i dont know why he is always praising Harbhajan, look at the average of that guy not at all comparable to any great bowler of past and present,

  • POSTED BY Exfactor44 on | July 30, 2011, 8:33 GMT

    I would like to point out that neither Sharma nor Sreesanth are medium pacers as this article suggests. They are both sensibly fast mediums (and are billed as fast medium on their profiles) on top of having bowled the first and second fastest deliveries of any Indian between them.

  • POSTED BY Vnott on | July 30, 2011, 8:20 GMT

    These stats tell a story. Sree has 51 wickets from 14 tests overseas and 31 from 11 in India. Naturally he needs a bit more bite in the wicket to perform and he will improve if backed...

    home 2006-2010 11 21 345.5 60 1226 31 5/75 6/122 39.54 3.54 66.9 1 0 away 2006-2011 14 26 465.2 91 1629 51 5/40 8/99 31.94 3.50 54.7 2 0 *MS

    He has played spectacularly under Dravid. Dravid is more level headed and could get the best out of him whereas for all the "cool" street smartness, Dhoni needs to learn to back Sree who has played key roles in many games under his captaincy. Injuries have played a part too in his reduced success but fundamentally the captain and the team mgmt needs to back him...

    Dhoni 2008-2011 11 20 329.0 42 1215 31 5/75 6/122 39.19 3.69 63.6 2 0 R Dravid 2006-2007 11 22 397.5 99 1299 46 5/40 8/99 28.23 3.26 51.8 1 0

  • POSTED BY on | July 30, 2011, 8:19 GMT

    Leave Sreesanth alone. He is pr obably the most talented bowler India has ever produced! It's a real shame people can't focus on his great skills.

  • POSTED BY Vnott on | July 30, 2011, 8:03 GMT

    Sree has been consistently delivering. We drew level in South Africa because of an outstanding performance from him. Who can forget the way he got Kallis. The whole country was gaga over him. The only series he missed was Windies where he was injured. We cant base One Day performances or IPL and decide he is good or bad. He has always delivered in tests and is key to Indias performances overseas. If Dhoni stops issuing those funny statements publically - and backs him, we will have someone who will do better than even Zaheer.....

  • POSTED BY ashish514 on | July 30, 2011, 7:59 GMT

    Guys, whoever thinks that Dhoni is keeping Sree out of the team is wrong. It's only coz of Dhoni that he's still in the plans. All that he says about him in media is just for the media, not for sree. I'm sure when Dhoni talks to Sreesanth personally he would say something like " Don't pay heed to whatever i say in the media, keep your aggression on, just avoid inviting troubles". He's very diplomatic. It's just that Sreesanth has not been consistent enough, otherwise he would have been the no.2 bowler after Zaheer. Dhoni's calmness complements the aggression of other team members like Bhajji, Yuvraj and Sree. He doesn't want them to be like him. It's a balancing act.

  • POSTED BY vinodvs on | July 30, 2011, 7:57 GMT

    Sree is the most capable bowler and the one who is most criticised. Am a big fan of him..All the very best Sree .Guruvayurappan's blessings are there for you.

  • POSTED BY rahulcricindia on | July 30, 2011, 7:16 GMT

    guys do not get carrid away ...by over praising sree and criticizing dhoni ..sree is lethal when at his best but more than worse when not bowling well... so this is reason why he is not the first choice in the series starter...also look at praveen record ,he is playing his 5th match and already got 21 wickets with the economy rate of 2..!!! is'nt he a good bowler and a consistent one and zaheer is our best bowler and ishant provides variety due to his height and high arm action....so it think dhoni is quite good in decision making.....

  • POSTED BY johnathonjosephs on | July 30, 2011, 7:03 GMT

    LOL @fearless69 who said sreesanth could be the next dale steyn! anyways, jokes aside, i think its hilarious to see that sreesanth has "changed his ways". Like Ganguly said on air in a (i think) sarcastic tone, Sreesanth and South Indian cricketers are deep down, really good kids.... Thought it was a tad bit racist, but oh well. Absolutely LOVED when Wasim Akram, Harsha Bogle, and Ganguly were in the same room and Harsha Bogle said that "Its amazing that Harbhajan has 400 wickets in 100 test matches just like Curtly Ambrose and Wasim Arkam". The room just went dead silent for about 30 seconds and Ganguly said slowly, "Uhh.... I think Wasim and Ambrose did it at a way better average and strike rate than Harbhajan". Akram didn't even utter a word, he must of been ticked off that he was just compared to Harbhajan. Harsha seemed completely embarassed afterwards in the room and there seemed tension between him and Ganguly

  • POSTED BY rahulcricindia on | July 30, 2011, 6:59 GMT

    i think people who are saying that there should be four seamers in the match really does not much about cricket and there is very simple rule that no matter what the pitch is the bowling attack should posses variety ...it is very impotent to have a genuine spinner int he team ...which yuvi is certainly not... ODI is different scenario...and guys please leave bhajji alone...he surely has nothing to do in that pitch for sure it war seamers day..he did took one when needed...lets test him when conditions are there for him and team is looking up to him to take wickets...right now just hail our seamers for the job well done....

  • POSTED BY on | July 30, 2011, 6:52 GMT

    This is not the first time Sreesanth has performed well in tough situations. He has performed well, more recently, against Srilanka and South Africa, with controlled agression. Just because he doesn't fit into the some stereotype doesn't mean that he is a lunatic. He has been able to control his antics, of late.

  • POSTED BY rahulcricindia on | July 30, 2011, 6:34 GMT

    i heard and read too that many english commentators were saying that they play praveen types of bowlers day in day out ...well yesterday they were having absolutely no answers to his in swingers and out swingers ...he has taken 9 wickets in three innings so far..goes to show how worse the english batsman are against the good old swing bowling with gentle pace... and hoe they have underestimated a very good accurate bowler....yesterday their batsman were struggling big time in their home conditions...

  • POSTED BY on | July 30, 2011, 6:26 GMT

    True, that Sreesanth believed that showing aggression would be appreciated by everybody as the mark of a genuine fast bowler. It was that immaturity that led him to showing such histrionics. Just remember, before the Andre Nel episode he was not behaving like that. Means, it was not his actual character. Having said that, I think he received an unfair treatment from the Indian team management and the selectors. It was personal biases in the Indian team and not cricketing reasons that kept him out of the team. Dhoni is not at all level-headed or mature in this aspect. Hope that in future Sree and others put cricketing sense in the forefront.

  • POSTED BY Pathiyal on | July 30, 2011, 5:46 GMT

    if you are a young, determined and talented cricketer, saurav used to make sure that you enjoy a successful career. msd believes in rotation theory rather - i dont think he is biased. infact, he would like to have more options since the injury rates are quite higher now a days than what it was sometime back. continuous fitness is what sree has to achieve in order to be a regular.

  • POSTED BY on | July 30, 2011, 4:41 GMT

    England Top and Middle order batting collapses(124 for 8 wickets at Tea on the first day of NOTTINGHAM TEST AT TRENT BRIDGE), a face saving 73 run partnership between Staurt Broad and Swann, Excellent swing bowling by the medium fast bowlers Praveen Kumar, Ishant Sharma and Sreesanth(3 wickets each), Outstanding batting display by Stuart Broad(64 runs in 93 balls) are the highlights. England scored 221 runs in 68.4 overs. Dhoni's(Captain Cool) rotation of medium pacers was superb! Overall it was India's day. I endup my comments quoting Sharda Ugra about Sreesanth(Sreesanth made up for the absence of Zahir Khan with plenty of skill and measured aggression!)

  • POSTED BY sweetspot on | July 30, 2011, 4:37 GMT

    Thank you for that Sharda. Maybe this "passion" stuff is really a masterful diversionary tactic of a very talented bowler? Everybody expects antics from him, but guess what - another lovely outswinger comes out! Great to see every Indian player step up at one point or the other. This has been the hallmark of this team. Dhoni bashers please listen up - Dhoni gives EVERYBODY chances, even when they are performing woefully, like Ravindra Jadeja. So let's at the very least give Dhoni the benefit of the doubt when we can clearly see Sree is temperamentally the polar opposite of Dhoni? It is hard to keep the energy in one direction when Sree is in the mix. Everybody can see this. It is not always easy to focus on the cricket when he turns on that loony part of himself. Even yesterday, the cat nearly came out of the bag with all that short pitched stuff to the England tail. Luckily, he seems to be getting it together. Don't imagine Dhoni won't be relieved.

  • POSTED BY cric_lover143 on | July 30, 2011, 3:41 GMT

    Good to see SREE back in his fine rythm... He has had an unfortunate career till now. That is mainly because some very very bad bowling and some good bowling without luck. if you remember, he is one of the most unlucky bowler in the current generation. If the catches put down on his bowling had been taken, he might be having an additional 50+ wickets to his total tally.. good fielders like Dravid, Laxman and even Dhoni are the main culprit. Dhoni in particular never believed on Sreesanth as he did on Ishant. He uses Sree mainly on subcontinent wickets and gave him far less chances in bowler friendly wickets. The writer is right, If he was playing under Sourav, he might have become a far far better bowler than he is today.. remember how Sourav nurtured Zaheer and Harbhajan..

  • POSTED BY on | July 30, 2011, 3:29 GMT

    these guys are hte future zaheer is gonna retire in 2-3 years im sure i dont think his body is holding up indian bowling weak? no but selection always is ... any given day sree is better then munaf but munaf is always chosen ahead of him i dont know why! well ishant, praveen(that bowl to swann was beautiful),and sreesanth make good world class fast bowling attack ishant now rarely gets injured bcoz he knows his body people bashed at him for not taking overs after lunch but he was honest enough to say yes i said i dont wanna bowl he is a rythem bowler he wont bowl well out of rythem or when he is tired or when his body is not feeling right.. thats hwy i think praveen is so crucial now he is 1 person who will be consistent no fuss all the best to both the teams for another gr8 day advantage india and i think today dravid will score 100!

  • POSTED BY fearless69 on | July 30, 2011, 3:21 GMT

    Beautiful.. I think Sreesanth could be the next Dale Steyn of India if he performs consistently.. Agree with you all, hez just a different bowler on his day.. Keep it up Sree..

  • POSTED BY on | July 30, 2011, 3:14 GMT

    Ganguly was the greatest man-manager we've had as a captain since I started watching cricket. He invented Sehwag the Opener, inspired Harbhajan more than any captain since, helped Laxman rediscover himself by pushing him to no.3 in that crucial Kolkata Test, and put the Great Middle Order in place.

  • POSTED BY on | July 30, 2011, 2:55 GMT

    I think once Sehwag is back and if the pitch is conducive for fast bowling we should drop bajji and go with 4 seamers.

  • POSTED BY caught_knott_bowled_old on | July 30, 2011, 2:31 GMT

    Sreesanth smacking Andre Nel (an equally annoying character) for a six and twirling his bat up in the air is etched in my memory. I loved his spunk then. Thereafter, his mis-placed and ill-timed antics and expressions which he likes to call "passion" have put me off the guy...completely. And lets not drag Dhoni into this. A less tolerant captain would have discarded such a profane and volatile character a couple of seasons back. Its alright if Dhoni publicly counsels Sreesanth. If Sreesanth can really stick the business of bowling and taking wickets (economically, please) on a consistent basis, he can play more tests. Else, he can try his histrionics to a movie studio or reality show!

  • POSTED BY gitapat on | July 30, 2011, 2:18 GMT

    It is all about man-management and Dhoni has no skills in handling the likes of Sreeshanth.All Dhoni can do is to rely on the likes of Harbhajan who suck up to him as they are insecure in their performance.And for a change we saw Tendulkar advising Sreeshanth-that was the key to his performance yesterday.

  • POSTED BY laksad on | July 30, 2011, 2:13 GMT

    Why is Harbajan in the team? India should have gone with 4 seamer and Yuvraj doing the spinner role. Munaf would have been more than handy in this pitch.

  • POSTED BY on | July 30, 2011, 2:04 GMT

    @Sharda Ugra

    Your articles are the only source of Frank opinion in Indian Cricket. For all his skills and leadership qualities, Dhoni is definitely partial. Sreesanth is much better bowler than some of the current crop, he rarely gets chances outside India, and he never gets Dhoni's backing. Same goes with some other players.

    Dhoni seems to always take Bajji and Sachin's interests more than the team's. Today's match is a clear example, for keeping Sachin at No 2 , Laxman was brought to No1 slot. Cant Sachin play at No1 for a match?. When it comes to Sachin and Bajji, Dhoni doesnt care about team.

  • POSTED BY Alexk400 on | July 30, 2011, 1:59 GMT

    My guess is when ever he feel tired and he become wayward and erratic and downright hopeless. When he first time played against pakistan , the amount of energy he puts into every ball, i thought india found a diamond in the rough. he was almost looked like pakistani fast bowler who do not get tired as much like "ouch it hurts" indian bowlers. Once he had some success , he put less energy in gym and fitness , all the rhetoric we saw. I think if you hit sreesanth few fours , he loses evereything. if he can control his emotions and repeat ball after ball on offstump, he will be deadly in all foreign pitches. Also he experiment too much within a single over. He expose complete cupboard within 1 over , batsman become ready for anything he throw after that. He needs to learn how to surprise and shock batsman once in a while. Not on every ball though. His antics are tiresome when he do not produce goods. He knows one thing how to irritate whole world.

  • POSTED BY Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on | July 30, 2011, 1:58 GMT

    It was funny to see a notoriously over-rated flat track bully aka Dhoni deriding Sree in the media. Dhoni should thank his lucky stars that he is playing cricket for India and to think that he had the guts to ask media to hound him beggars belief. On these kind of pitches Sree would get him out 30 times in 100 balls. Even in India, I can bet that Sree would get him 10 times in 100 balls. He is an extremely talented bowler in the wrong hands. He will shine when Dhoni bites the dust. Where's Ganguly? No doubt this man Ganguly is in a different class of Captains.

  • POSTED BY vatsap on | July 30, 2011, 1:58 GMT

    Way to go Sree ... a five for would have kept the critics within the Indian cricket team shut up for a while. Hope the Indian batsmen put up a good score for you to swing it in 2nd innings.

  • POSTED BY on | July 30, 2011, 1:41 GMT

    simply love this guy. whenever he plays, i make sure i don't miss a single over / ball of the match. :o=}

  • POSTED BY on | July 30, 2011, 1:39 GMT

    His balls to remove Trott and KP are masterclass where the ball dismissed Prior is a gem of a delivery. Keep doing Sree, its ALSO because of your brilliance Dhoni is enjoying World #1 status not to forget. Its Sree's bad luck he lost a much powerful and brainy cricketing captain in Sourav to nurture him. Good luck, keep us #1 in tests. You Can Do It.

  • POSTED BY sahilmuhsin on | July 30, 2011, 1:25 GMT

    a mind bolowing, jaw dropping delivery to get the wicket of Matt Prior, Next match i wish India go with 4 seamer kick that Bhajji, I am fan of both Bhajji an sreeshanth, But bhajji has a feeling that he is sole spinner and he can take the place int eam for granted

  • POSTED BY SriUSA on | July 30, 2011, 1:21 GMT

    Good job Sree. I always believed you have the talent and skill but only application was missing. On your day you can match anyone or even better. You have beautiful run up and you keep the seem right all the time. Just keep doing it. Dhoni should know that he cannot demean his team mates in public.

  • POSTED BY Buggsy on | July 29, 2011, 23:58 GMT

    Even as an Australian, I love this guy. He may get it wrong at times, but there's no doubt when he does get it right he's one of the most entertaining bowlers in the game. Can't wait until India comes to Australia, I hope he plays.

  • POSTED BY on | July 29, 2011, 23:49 GMT

    Like most "characters" Sreesanth would always polarize opinions. On bad days he could be inconsistent to downright rangy and frustrating. But on good days he'd open up even the watertight techniques of Kallis or Trott. And he's done that to Sangakkara on subcontinental flatbeds too. Outside of cricket, he is a soft spoken guy, so to bring on that fierceness he has to put that extra effort - bound to boil over at times. But he's a wicket taking bowler and a matchwinner. Mercurial talents need a loving arm around their shoulder and be told "go get them!" , instead Dhoni asks the media to "go get him" whenever Sree is being hounded. Imagine Waugh dealing with Slater, or Imran handling Aaqib Javed like that. With due respect, if he was playing under Ganguly .. or was born in Pakistan he'd have blossomed a lot more.

  • POSTED BY TamilIndian on | July 29, 2011, 23:46 GMT

    "...under Sourav Ganguly, he would have had a more" chances - agree with that statement. For some reason Dhoni is openly critical or Sreesanth. Anyway the best way to counter is in your own hands (literally) Sree! - Continue you channel your fire correctly.

  • POSTED BY bigdhonifan on | July 29, 2011, 23:13 GMT

    Like how languages are different, people are different too. Learn to understand and respect these differences. Sreesanth is not like regular people. He is different. Try to understand Sreesanth's differences. Then maybe you will learn to respect Sreesanth!

  • POSTED BY on | July 29, 2011, 22:59 GMT

    Nice to have the guy back! A pleasure to watch any given day.....lies bare the torture of his soul on the field!

  • POSTED BY on | July 29, 2011, 22:54 GMT

    Waah. Good days my friend.

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  • POSTED BY on | July 29, 2011, 22:54 GMT

    Waah. Good days my friend.

  • POSTED BY on | July 29, 2011, 22:59 GMT

    Nice to have the guy back! A pleasure to watch any given day.....lies bare the torture of his soul on the field!

  • POSTED BY bigdhonifan on | July 29, 2011, 23:13 GMT

    Like how languages are different, people are different too. Learn to understand and respect these differences. Sreesanth is not like regular people. He is different. Try to understand Sreesanth's differences. Then maybe you will learn to respect Sreesanth!

  • POSTED BY TamilIndian on | July 29, 2011, 23:46 GMT

    "...under Sourav Ganguly, he would have had a more" chances - agree with that statement. For some reason Dhoni is openly critical or Sreesanth. Anyway the best way to counter is in your own hands (literally) Sree! - Continue you channel your fire correctly.

  • POSTED BY on | July 29, 2011, 23:49 GMT

    Like most "characters" Sreesanth would always polarize opinions. On bad days he could be inconsistent to downright rangy and frustrating. But on good days he'd open up even the watertight techniques of Kallis or Trott. And he's done that to Sangakkara on subcontinental flatbeds too. Outside of cricket, he is a soft spoken guy, so to bring on that fierceness he has to put that extra effort - bound to boil over at times. But he's a wicket taking bowler and a matchwinner. Mercurial talents need a loving arm around their shoulder and be told "go get them!" , instead Dhoni asks the media to "go get him" whenever Sree is being hounded. Imagine Waugh dealing with Slater, or Imran handling Aaqib Javed like that. With due respect, if he was playing under Ganguly .. or was born in Pakistan he'd have blossomed a lot more.

  • POSTED BY Buggsy on | July 29, 2011, 23:58 GMT

    Even as an Australian, I love this guy. He may get it wrong at times, but there's no doubt when he does get it right he's one of the most entertaining bowlers in the game. Can't wait until India comes to Australia, I hope he plays.

  • POSTED BY SriUSA on | July 30, 2011, 1:21 GMT

    Good job Sree. I always believed you have the talent and skill but only application was missing. On your day you can match anyone or even better. You have beautiful run up and you keep the seem right all the time. Just keep doing it. Dhoni should know that he cannot demean his team mates in public.

  • POSTED BY sahilmuhsin on | July 30, 2011, 1:25 GMT

    a mind bolowing, jaw dropping delivery to get the wicket of Matt Prior, Next match i wish India go with 4 seamer kick that Bhajji, I am fan of both Bhajji an sreeshanth, But bhajji has a feeling that he is sole spinner and he can take the place int eam for granted

  • POSTED BY on | July 30, 2011, 1:39 GMT

    His balls to remove Trott and KP are masterclass where the ball dismissed Prior is a gem of a delivery. Keep doing Sree, its ALSO because of your brilliance Dhoni is enjoying World #1 status not to forget. Its Sree's bad luck he lost a much powerful and brainy cricketing captain in Sourav to nurture him. Good luck, keep us #1 in tests. You Can Do It.

  • POSTED BY on | July 30, 2011, 1:41 GMT

    simply love this guy. whenever he plays, i make sure i don't miss a single over / ball of the match. :o=}