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January 5, 2013
News : Chilly welcome for Giles in India
News : J&K allrounder Rasool in India A squad
Report : Sreesanth, Kerala dominate Jharkhand
News : Sreesanth returns to competitive cricket
Matches: India A v England XI at Delhi
Series/Tournaments: England tour of India
Sreesanth, the India fast bowler, is using recent experiences of the "darkest" days of his career as extra motivation to force his way back into the national team.
Sreesanth, who will face England for India A on Sunday, was out of action for more than year after undergoing two operations on his toes to insert platinum nails which left him in a wheelchair as he recuperated. A quick bowler known for his aggression on the field, which sometimes spilled over the top, Sreesanth admitted to it being an emotional time for him where he even considered it might be the end of his career.
"Who says men don't cry? I used to sob like a baby as I was forced to move around in a wheelchair for two months after twin surgeries on my toes," he told PTI. "To be honest, I started thinking that probably, I won't be able to play cricket again. It was such a scary thought. Those 14 months were the darkest phase of my life."
However, that drastic scenario did not emerge and he returned to cricket for Kerela, in the Ranji Trophy, during December. His three matches have brought nine wickets at 24, enough to earn him a place in the India A line-up to face England in their first warm-up match ahead of the one-day series.
India are not flush with fast-bowling options at the moment. Zaheer Khan, dropped for the final Test against England, is seemingly coming to the end of his career and two talented young bowlers, Umesh Yadav and Varun Aaron, are currently injured. Ishant Sharma has become the senior quick, a role that he does not always convince in, although Bhuvneshwar Kumar has shown early promise.
It all means, at 29, that there is still time for Sreesanth to return to the international stage. He played the last of his 27 Tests against England, at The Oval, in 2011 and his previous ODI was the World Cup final in Mumbai.
"This is a fresh start for me," he said. "I want to extract every ounce of enjoyment possible from the matches that I would play from now on. Be it for Kerala, India A or India, I don't want to relax one bit. I have two platinum nails inserted in my big toes but I have a lot of fire in my belly."
"Earlier, I used to think that there are days where I can relax. But now I know that life is fickle. You have to give your hundred per cent as long as it lasts."
Don't, though, expect to see a mellowed fast bowler on the field. "Earlier, I had a 26-step run-up to the bowling crease but now I have reduced it to 23 steps. But I have not cut down on my pace. Even while playing for Kerala, I have consistently worked up a fair amount of pace. The only thing that I need right now is more consistency."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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Stats highlights from the fourth ODI between India and West Indies in Dharamsala