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Him against the world

Even at the height of his success with the national side, Sreesanth was a lonely cricketer who felt hard done by

Ajay Shankar

May 19, 2013

Comments: 67 | Text size: A | A

Sreesanth shows his disappointment on a difficult day, England v India, 3rd npower Test, Edgbaston, 2nd day, August 11, 2011
Sreesanth: just wanted someone to talk to © AFP

Did he do it?

For a few years, between 2006 and 2009, I knew Sreesanth better than many of you - in my role as a cricket writer, a friend, and, as he insisted on calling me, an older brother. But on Thursday morning, like millions around the world, I did not have an answer to the question above.

Three days later, I still don't. During all those phone conversations that he and I had over the years, all those meetings - on the cricket field, in his hotel room, at my house - did I ever get the feeling that he would one day be branded a fixer? No. Never.

I did ask him once or twice about betting and match-fixing. I asked whether he had ever heard of these things while playing for India. Rumours, a stray conversation overheard, suspicious characters floating around a team member, anything at all? His "no" was always firm. "What's wrong with you, don't you have anything else to talk about?" he asked me once.

My last conversation with him was in November 2009, when I called him to say that I was relocating to Oman. My first was when I walked up to him in Kingston in 2006 and introduced myself.

"Malayali aano? [Are you a Malayali?]," he asked. My answer made his eyes light up. It was his first overseas tour with the Indian team, and I had just returned to cricket journalism after a gap of many years.

We soon discovered that we were the only people in the entire travelling Indian contingent - players, officials and media - from the southern Indian state of Kerala, speaking the language of the state, Malayalam.

I soon discovered that Sreesanth was an extremely lonely cricketer, with hardly anyone in the Indian team he could call a friend. I represented a generation much before his, and we had little in common, except for the language, but I felt that he was more at ease with me than with his own team-mates. I soon realised that he only wanted to talk to someone, and to be listened to.

Contrary to what most of my journalist friends believed, he never really gave me any "inside dope" about the team. Any such question was almost always countered with, "It's not right on my part to talk about that", or simply, "Why do you want to know?" We usually ended up talking about life, the power of religion, and even issues involving his personal life that no one would really want to tell anyone, let alone a journalist.

As the months passed, and as I travelled more with the team and with Sreesanth, one theme started dominating our conversations. His constant refrain was: Nobody in the team likes me, I have no godfathers to back me.

He complained that since he came from Kochi, a city that was yet to figure on the Indian cricket map then, he was discriminated against, particularly when the team was being selected. He claimed that his cricketing skills came to be noticed only after he moved to Bangalore, and that he had only ever received any significant support at the higher level from one man, Greg Chappell, then the team's coach.

He fumed that some of his team-mates from north India were spreading stories about him, maligning him. In fact, on the 2006-07 tour of South Africa, the crowning moment of his fledgling career, he was more concerned about a story allegedly being spread by some of his team-mates: that he always carried a knife about with him!

As the months passed, and as I travelled more with the team and with Sreesanth, one theme started dominating our conversations. His constant refrain was: Nobody in the team likes me, I have no godfathers to back me

Yet, soon enough, if briefly, he became an "established" member of the Indian team. Our conversations became few and far in between, he would often not answer the phone when I called, and after some time stopped returning calls too. Sreesanth the cricketer had become Sreesanth, the dancer, the brand ambassador, the star.

Then came a call, at around 4am one morning. "Brother, you have to come to the hotel. I am in the lobby and there is some breaking news." I was working for ESPNcricinfo in Bangalore then, and rushed to the hotel. There he was, chatting to some TV reporters who he had called too. He claimed that the hotel staff had refused to allot him and a friend a room he wanted, and that they had "misbehaved" with him. He wanted the journalists to do a story about that. I was more interested in the friend, simply because this was the first time he had ever introduced anyone to me as his friend. "That guy was my manager." he later told me.

I never came across that manager again, but I started seeing more such people with Sreesanth. He once came to the National Cricket Academy in Bangalore with one such friend, and left with him. It was never the same person, though all of them were young, hair gelled in the latest fashion, sporting branded clothing. "Who are these guys?" I asked him once. "Don't worry, I know them well," he said.

"Just make sure your friends don't land you in any more trouble." I told him once, days after he hit the headlines for a party in an apartment in Bangalore that ended in violence.

At around that time, I happened to discuss Sreesanth with one of his former India team-mates. "He is so naïve. He will do anything for his friends," this player said to me. "I have once seen him hand over whatever cash he had in his pocket to someone who approached him with a sob story."

Sreesanth's stint with the Indian team did not last long, and he was dropped.

"I will come back," he said to me. "I will now focus only on cricket, nothing else." It was a line I would hear repeatedly from him, even as he appeared on tacky TV dance shows, in fashion shoots, and gossip columns linking him to various Indian movie actresses and models.

In between, there was the incident with Harbhajan Singh, where once again Sreesanth told me that he was being discriminated against. "He punched me, but everyone is supporting him. They are putting pressure on me not to take up the issue any further," he said.

By now our interactions were limited to the few times we met at the cricket academy. Then one day in November 2009, I tried his number. To my surprise, he answered. He wished me luck, and ended the conversation with his usual line: "Pray for me, brother."

I tried to stay in touch with him later on the phone and on email, but there was no response. Life went on, his and mine. Yes, he did keep popping up on my computer and TV screens, under various headlines, some good, some bad. And most of them brought a smile to my face. Until last Thursday morning.

Ajay Shankar has covered cricket for the Indian Express and ESPNcricinfo. He is currently the associate editor of Muscat Daily in Oman

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by Harmony111 on (May 22, 2013, 5:20 GMT)

Guys I don't know if Sree is innocent or not but what I find very abhorrent is the way Indian Media is depicting this whole scenario. Cos Sree is the more famous one almost the entire coverage is focused on him. Just about everything related to Sree is being shown AS IF they all are related to this spot fixing issue. Tell me, which guy won't have pics of female models in his laptop? What exactly is objectionable if Sree was with 2 women in his car? Can't they just be friends? What is wrong if Sree used to enjoy living in 5 star hotels and partying there? What is the problem if he is fond of shopping and wearing clothes worth thousands?

WE ALL WANT THAT, almost all of us.

Poisoning the well is an extremely dangerous fallacy. It sometimes makes an innocent guilty in the public eye and often exaggerates whatever the guilt is, big or small.

I was never a fan of Sree but guilty or not the media here has already ruined his reputation for ever.

Long live Indian Media .... NOT.

Posted by Deter on (May 22, 2013, 3:16 GMT)

@latecut_04 Sreesanth bowled 8 overs in the 2011 world cup final match

Posted by mainul079080 on (May 22, 2013, 0:51 GMT)

@Kavindeven.Thanks for your feedback.Yes, you are right to some extent.Sreesanth was a raw talent, a raw charecter. But there should have been a mentor- an artist to make a good mould.India have that in case of producing world class batsmans, but not in case of fast bowlers.I dont believe, never believed that India does not produce quality fast bowlers like Pakistan.They are a huge cricket crazy nation. India always lacked eagle eyed experts to choose the real talented fast bowlers and to make them in a good mould.Pakistan had Imran,Miandad who introduced legendary fast bowlers Waqar and Wasim respectively.They were not the very best from the very beginning.But they were guided.Then Shoib,Aamer,Junaid,...never ending.Irfan pathan was a great talent but he was not guided.India is wasting time on Ishant sharma who i think is not talented enough to be one of the best

Posted by am243am on (May 21, 2013, 23:10 GMT)

I always felt Sreesanth needed counseling; more specifically he need to go to a therapist to get his head set right. I do believe it is the responsibility of the BCCI to identify, develop and nurture talent in cricket, and to that effect, they must have some programs in place to protect cricketers from themselves and from the wicked world around them. Sreesanth has to take responsibility for his self destruction - he had the skills to dominate his sport - for those of you who follow American Football, Sreesanth reminds me of Terrell Owens - so much talent; so messed up in the head

Posted by passionatecricbug on (May 21, 2013, 13:35 GMT)

The problem at stake seems very deep. If thought and studied properly, it can solve almost all the issues that India is facing today. Most of us work hard as kids and teenagers, so that we are able to earn enough as grown up adults. When we do make it big, we do not know what to do with the money. We have absolutely no direction as to how to lead a life. We think we'll live it as it comes. And there lies the evil. The big events in life take such a short time to happen that more often than not we are blind regarding it's outcome and repercussions on the rest of our lives. In case of Shreesanth it seems that he was very lonely. He had no one, who, he would call his friend. A friend whom-with he could share good and bad moments . So, he was hunted down by the wolves, taken into bad company and induced bad habits. It might take massive overhaul of our education system itself, to dole out educated people with strong mental aptitude.

Posted by   on (May 21, 2013, 12:35 GMT)

Even after all that has happened I still believe someone trapped Sreesanth in the fixing... I wouldn't believe a player with his potential and passion would do that... he might be added to this, so that the fixing issue actually become a national news covered 24*7 by the national media ... Think about this - will this issue be even noticed by the viewers if Sreesanth is not in it ? We may discuss about this for one day or tow max.. no body would be that interested with the other two players arrested in the case... Sreesanth is considered as the bad boy of Indian cricket and he was just a victim for publicity...

Anybody would certainly remember him as one of the best fast bowlers in India who could swing the ball at pace and the only one who could get into the skin ot opponent batsmen...

Posted by MAK123 on (May 21, 2013, 10:12 GMT)

I feel really sad for Sreesanth. Reminds me of a story when a poor boy had to lose both his hands for plucking a flower from the landlord's garden while the landlord's goats were busy grazing indiscrimantely on the flowers and plants. It seems Sreesanth has been made a scapegoat to "clean" Cricket of corruption so that the rest of the "clean" players can carry on merrily. But the Cricketing bodies including the BCCI and the ICC would be fools to think that general public following this sport would buy it so easily.

Posted by TheOnlyEmperor on (May 21, 2013, 6:03 GMT)

The BCCI is to blame for the insecurity it creates amongst players who let down... especially during team selection. The process which brought in the regional quota during selection ... brought along with it player lobbying. This has led to such levels of parochialism in Indian cricket, that you would not find even "legends" from a region criticizing players from their region for bad performance during match analysis on live TV. If the "legends" themselves have belittled themselves by not putting on the Indian cap and instead putting on the regional cap, then lesser said about the media, the cricket administrators, the better. A player may be a regional icon, but he is Indian FIRST. It cannot happen, that a commentator thinks a 100 times before criticizing Ganguly (say) for fear of the wrath of the Bengalis. The Indian team needs a psychologist, to help people deal with themselves, fame, situations, captains, coach, selectors,etc. The faster the BCCI realises this, the better!

Posted by latecut_04 on (May 21, 2013, 5:57 GMT)

@spinkingkk---Do you know Sreesanth was a part of the 2011 WC final Indian XI? He did not bowl a single delivery but Dhoni included him thinking he brought luck to the Indian team!!!Since you have stated that your comment is your observation and you may be wrong I beg to differ with your point. In England entire Indian team's performance(barring Dravid's) was catastrophic and it was definitely not due to Dhoni's poor captaincy.(he does not play well outside Asia in test matches both in front and behind the wickets forget captaining AND that's an entirely different issue.)and I am from Kerala and as soon as Sreesanth's parents started blaming Dhoni,Harbhajan etc for his troubles, he lost whatever sympathy he had garnered.

Posted by TheOnlyEmperor on (May 21, 2013, 5:46 GMT)

Cricket is a sport and like in any other sport, one gets respected when one excels. I disapprove of parochial people who play the victim in sport based on their ethnicity. If you have basic talent and hardworking, and a performer, it's that work ethic that carries you forward in sport as in career. Of course, there will always be grouping within a team. One set of people would be more comfortable mingling amongst themselves than the others. There will be others who would not be wanted in any group if they are considered eccentric. Such are the people who find themselves alone. It's not bad to be alone as long as one learns to handle oneself. You need not have friends at the office for instance, just acquaintances. In fact that would be prudent. A competitive place is not where you display blind trust, especially when it involves confiding in people. Sreesanth it appears needed to be taught people skills... and how to handle himself amidst fame and the arclights. Period.

Posted by pradave17 on (May 21, 2013, 2:07 GMT)

Sreesanth has made his own history with a big black shadow. This man is talented but his talents never came at its height because of his poor attitudes as a sportsman. It is common to see the players who are very arrogant (unnecessary ways) with opponent side players but rare to see the players who always arrogant even with their own teammates. Sreesanth is that rare in the ground. I'm afraid some other talented Indian players will have the same. Ishant, Young Karan Sharma also will have a high potential to ruin their own future like Mr. Sreesanth.

Posted by maddy20 on (May 21, 2013, 1:09 GMT)

@ sachin_is_awesome Are you dreaming? Dravid only took up captaincy because there was no one else. And once you are captain you have to bond with the coach and work with him to get the team out of the Chappell-Ganguly mess. What else would you have him do? Fight with the coach and create more trouble?Seriously there is something seriously wrong with these Sachin fans as they always seem to be hallucinating!

Posted by Adnan-Ahmed on (May 20, 2013, 19:27 GMT)

As a Pakistani I have seen a fair share of promising fast bowlers; as far as talent and potential go, Sreesanth was the most promising fast bowler India produced during the 20 years I've been following cricket closely. Irfan and Zaheer had spurts, but this guy was the real deal in terms of skill. But his on-field antics were immature and quite idiotic, maybe his frustrations of not being like by his team-mates boiled over on-field, or maybe he was just too childish to realize what a fool he was making of himself.

Also, it was interesting to note of regional discrimination in India; I have always wondered why a country of such numbers & cricket-passion have not been able to produce quality fast bowlers; this may be one piece of that puzzle. In any case, it was sad to read last week's news. The integrity of the IPL is in question for the second straight year; not to mention its discrimnatory exclusion of Pakistani players; who both the media & current league players ignore. Shameful.

Posted by   on (May 20, 2013, 19:22 GMT)

A talent that doesnt know its own worth. !!!

Posted by ansram on (May 20, 2013, 13:25 GMT)

I think Sreesanth has himself to blame. He did not create the first impression due to his antics and indiscipline and once people get the first impression, it is difficult to change their perspective. Whatever chances Sreesanth had, he did not utilize to change the way people look at him. Sreesanth was always looked upon as a spoilt or ill mannered child throwing tantrums. Now that will definitely isolate you amongst adults and it was Sreesanth's responsibility to change that perception, not others faults really.

Posted by sswam on (May 20, 2013, 13:24 GMT)

It is amazing that Sreesanth did not bond with anyone in the team. Why wait for some one to knock on his door? As a n00b, YOU do the approaching. This is something children learn, when playing together. This seems a little sad, if he has not learnt this already. As regards the author, the best thing he could have done is to introduce him to a book titled "How to win friends and influence people". That is what a friend, well wisher, or anyone truly caring of his well being would have done. Not developing those skills could certainly mark him as prey for the nefarious. At the end of the day, we are all responsible for our choices and decisions. It is tragic to see this end to such talent, but he made bad choices.

Posted by JPalocaren on (May 20, 2013, 12:56 GMT)

Very good article and portrays Sreeshanth through the years. I personally liked and wished that he would do well when he burst into attention with Tendulkars wicket in one of the matches. I was happy when he got selected to the Indian team and was hoping that it would encourage other youngsters from Kerala. However Sreeshanths on-field behaviour, temperment and antics on the field left a lot to be desired and could see fame going to his head. He would never have been a good example for young cricketeers and knew that he would never acheive his potential with the attitude he had. Now after hearing his parents blaming everyone else except Sreeshant, shows what caused these problems to begin with.

Jason Palocaren. USA.

Posted by spinkingKK on (May 20, 2013, 11:29 GMT)

Whether he did it or not is a difficult question to answer. But, what the writer said here is seems to be true. I have always complained that Dhoni looked repeatedly trying to stop Sreesanth perform well, even if it meant that India will lose a test match. In India's tour of England, Praveen Kumar was India's best bowler. It was only because Sreesanth was repeatedly been taken out of the attack whenever he looked like troubling the batsman. This is only my observation and I can be wrong. But, when the writer says that Sree always felt lonely, I can relate to it. It appeared that Sree couldn't shine unless the captain was Dravid. Because, Dravid was the only captain who was never ever biased and always had the team as his prime priority. Also, Greg Chappel will go well in that regard. But, having said all these, if Sree did it, I will hate him very much. Because, he is getting paid a lot in IPL and no one can justify him if he had the greed for more money. I hope he didn't do it.

Posted by Naresh28 on (May 20, 2013, 10:00 GMT)

Ha - some fans are blaming Dravid as a captain. Sreesanth's character/upbringing are at fault here. There was a recent article which came up of his mother/father trying to give a reason for Sreesanth's mess up. It showed one parent blaming the teammates(father) and the mother blaming his friends. As an indian cricket fan I always believed Sreesanth to be highly talented but now he has lost his way.

Posted by skumar2013 on (May 20, 2013, 8:12 GMT)

I though the article brought out a usually unknown side of the player and others like him, without being judgemental.

Posted by   on (May 20, 2013, 6:44 GMT)

I know him. He is nice and faithful that's why i still don't believe what is happening in his life at this moment. My brother is playing with him in Kerala cricket team. I never got a chance to see him face to face, but i heard about him a lot. Ajay what all you said is right. cos i knew it before you reported. I really feel sorry for him cos he always wanted to and always tried to bring up the name of Kerala. he was always there to help his people, his friend. But i am sure his people don't like him.... I am sure he will not do that....if he did it there will be a trap....

Posted by RajenVarma on (May 20, 2013, 6:18 GMT)

An outstanding piece of journalism from someone who had the courage and conviction to proclaim that he had at some point of time come to know Sreesanth and did not know quite where this lad had led himself while no-balling into the street called fame or fate! How many of our professional cricket journalists would choose or dare to write about Sreesanth - the person - now doomed to infamy and oblivion?

In times when Cricket is no more enjoyed in terms of a well-timed cover drive or a delicate leg glance or the loop of Bedi's spin or a Prasanna delivery that stays in the air for a second longer, where is room available for anyone to condescent the heart of a cricketer? Right? Or is it the length of the sixer or the drool of the commentator that is of interest to the great cricket pros turned into writers, commentators or in some cases - both who seemingly but poorly imitate the art of the 'Vidhushaka'. Oh yes, Thursdays do haunt everybody, don't they?

Posted by latecut_04 on (May 20, 2013, 6:08 GMT)

Just bringing on another perspective--. . Greatness lies in not stooping to the level of your opponents and definitely Dravid is a firm believer of that principle NOW Dravid is easily the most encouraging skipper in IPL(how many unknown youngsters have come to the party for RR and look at their teamwork as opposed to CSK's all-round strength or RCB's superstar led victories.) BUT Dravid is also a thorough gentleman and a gentleman CANNOT order. What would he do if any youngster(or any player for that matter)go against team work/display antiques...he can be a role model and inspire him BUT can't see Dravid giving the player a dressing down/getting tough with him. Dravid like Sree's parents have committed the same mistake(if at all he has)---SPARED THE the saying goes 'spare the rod and spoil the kid'---here the kid and his swing got spoiled. Period. and blaming Dravid's captaincy even if in passing is absolutely ridiculous.(be it Indian or RR's)

Posted by ashutoshs87 on (May 20, 2013, 4:57 GMT)

The content of the article doesn't justify the article at all. His loneliness can't be concluded from his statements alone and an observation that he couldn't find anyone to talk to in the team and that he 'believed' there were rumors being spread by his team-mates. I don't know how journalism works but common sense says that the perspective of his team-mates be also taken into account before the above observations can be used to confidently conclude anything. I also get a feeling that this article tries to garner some sympathy for Sree for his loneliness when we don't know if that loneliness was a culmination of his attitude towards his team-mates or where those team-mates are at fault in the first place. And again, I don't understand that if he had friends who might have played a part in him getting into trouble, how is it him 'against' the world!

Posted by aativas on (May 20, 2013, 3:36 GMT)

I wonder what his parents, coach and friends were doing all these years! And I was amazed to know that Shree is a psychology graduate! Waste of talent indeed! Shree has proved that some people don't need enemies, they perfectly play that role themselves!! I feel sad for him ...

Posted by ARJUN217 on (May 20, 2013, 3:19 GMT)

A article that made me cry. as a cricketer i still love sree. What happend to him. As you said i think he did that for friendship but mistake is mistake. There's A lot of bad article about him . They don't no him well. i know how sad to b a lonely person in a group. all of them trying to make fun of u. Only the lonely person know how its feels like. Still love you sree.

Posted by YogifromNY on (May 20, 2013, 2:39 GMT)

I am not a fan of Sreesanth's - AT ALL. But I do feel compassion for this guy. Not feeling loved or included can make anyone look for acceptance and love in the wrong places, with people who are only out to exploit you. That could explain the changing parade of "hangers-on" that the author talks about. From the slew of articles on him in the past few days, it has also become clear that his upbringing lacked true understanding and support, and also the discipline to go with it, which would have molded his life in a more stable fashion. He is being punished enough, I don't think people should heap any more invective or suffering on him.

Posted by   on (May 20, 2013, 2:38 GMT)

loneliness, having no friend, people making fake story on you or may be regionalism. All these are not related to cricket. it's a real life problem that you have to face in school, college, in your office or any other place where you interact with people. every one face these more or less. I am not sure why people try to justify crimes.

Posted by   on (May 20, 2013, 1:57 GMT)

What a waste of talent. Old saying, insecurity is the mother of all evils. Why so insecure when Pundits compared you with Dennis Lille Sreeshant.. Goes on to show that talent is not everything and if you have a level head above the shoulders, lesser talent can sustain at the highest level for longer periods, Venkatesh Prasad being the immediate example..RIP to your done and dusted cricketing career.

Posted by Farce-Follower on (May 20, 2013, 1:23 GMT)

Looks like Greg Chapell was the the only professional in the side. Not for him the majority view or the Ganguly camp view etc. Indians have reacted to a personality cult (the Ganguly cult) and dropped a coach who had genuinely different views. As for regionalism, it definitely exists in India as a whole, why only cricket. As a nation, we still laugh at people who have different accents, skin color and mannerisms.

Posted by The_impartialobserver on (May 20, 2013, 0:56 GMT)

My heart says that Sreesanth is not guilty.... Reason being....I know Sreesanth to be aggressive, short tempered, emotional, rude, sometimes childish and naive. But I can never think of him as someone who doesn't have a conscience.

Posted by   on (May 19, 2013, 23:48 GMT)

2006 West Indies was not his first tour with Indian team. He toured Pakistan at start of 2006.

Posted by Notanideologue1 on (May 19, 2013, 23:30 GMT)

I appreciate the article as this is the only that I have seen over the week that has given a different perspective of the whole incident. I am a strong believer of the Indian court system and was always skeptical about the police especially Delhi Police. I am amazed by how media can report the press conference release of Delphi Police as "facts". Anyway Sreesanth, hope to be in front of the court next week and would like to see what Judge says about this allegation.

Posted by nareshgb1 on (May 19, 2013, 23:29 GMT)

when I first saw Sreesanth bowling in Jo'berg, when he took 5 or 6 wickets, it was a joy to behold that seam position and the superb swing. I thought in 2 years he would be in top 5 bowlers - instead, 5 years later nobody had a clue if the guy was fit or not (mostly I suspect he was not).

so I dont see the big deal about him being singled out by his teammates - I mean I am pretty sure they had no way of getting him injured.

And while I understand you can feel sympathy for someone close to you (even somewhat close), I dont see how it is anything but that he screwed up rather foolishly big time. Sad......that seam position.

Posted by asiacricket1234 on (May 19, 2013, 22:09 GMT)

Indian cricket always had this problem. I remember once Sehwag said that before Dada became captain there was no harmony in team. Player used to look for players from his own state and ignore others. It seems they couldn't get rid of that problem properly. However Sree has always been an irritating character. His attitude on and off the field has been immature and he didn't know how to deal with his fame. I don't think Cricket world or Team India gonna miss Sree, He was an OK bowler nothing special. Yes he bowled some good spell here and there but he is not someone who would have made to Indian team any time soon.

Posted by   on (May 19, 2013, 21:02 GMT)

He comes across as a very insecure individual. To be successful at the highest level talent alone is not enough, you need to have good individuality as well. He can only blame himself for his downfall. You reap the benefits of your own karma.

Posted by InsaneInsaan on (May 19, 2013, 20:30 GMT)

the regionaism is all lame. stupidity. dhoni ranchi. raina origin kashmir. many r recognized 4 talent and level headedness.

i once saw srisanth. he was driving maniacally on mookambika hill, kollur where he visits a temple.perhaps he had a psychiatry disorder and needed counselling. SAD to see him to stoop to this level. the author is lame in potrsying him as isolated.

Posted by hurrysh on (May 19, 2013, 20:17 GMT)

Lonliness or the lack thereof can be as much an issue of the individual (sometimes more so) as it is of the group. Aggressive, paranoid individuals having "God" complex end up feeling hunted and unwanted. I wouldnt be surprised this was a similar issue,..

Posted by ddr3 on (May 19, 2013, 20:01 GMT)

@ Sourabh 'Calvin' - There weren't 4 Groups there were 2 Groups 1. Greg Chapell & Rahul Dravid Camp and the other one was Ganguly & the seniors!

And Everyone is Alone in a new gotta try and be friends with everyone if others aren't trying to!

And its just Sreesanth's fault and no one else..not the captains or the Board!

Posted by kandisarath on (May 19, 2013, 20:01 GMT)

He' the worst cricketer infact bowler i've ever seen. No Talent and just because he's from south india (am from south india) he was given so many chances. If he would have born elsewhere he would have never made a club cricket team leave alone international team. There are millions of people who can bowl better than him and waiting....

Posted by   on (May 19, 2013, 19:58 GMT)

A fine article no doubt, but I wonder, had the spot-fixing issue not happened, would Ajay Shankar still have written this article? Something tells me that the answer is 'no'. Sreesanth's "no-friend-in-the-Indian-team" tale & the spot-fixing saga are two completely different issues. Why talk now about his troubled past experiences, when the focus should be on his role in spot-fixing? It seems to be a subtle attempt to rake up some sympathy for the speedster. Yes, I did feel sad for Sreesanth when I read about how lonely he felt in the team... But it would be ridiculous to even hint that just because he wanted someone to talk to (as the pic says), he ended up talking to a bookie!!

Posted by   on (May 19, 2013, 19:20 GMT)

We all have to sit and wait some time. Everything will come out and we can decide that " did he do it or not"....Then, Untill then its a sad insidence for cricket world and for these 3 players...

Posted by   on (May 19, 2013, 19:11 GMT)

There in question about regionalism and politics. But that is not an excuse to resort to fixing. Ganguly was the best example of beating all the odds as a Bengali (not a big powerhouse of cricket) and becoming a Dada. Ultimately it is your character. I am astonished that the big names of Dhoni, Tendulkar etc have not come out openly against fixing of any kind. Ganguly has. The whole heirarachy has to have the passion for stamping out fixing.

Posted by abhinavka on (May 19, 2013, 18:34 GMT)

Excellent article. Gives an insight into the life of Sreesanth, his rise and later, fall from grace. Perhaps he got the basics of life wrong. That out there, you are on your own. Once you find fame, there will be a lot of leeches hovering around, with the sole intention of sucking the blood out of you. Sreesanth: a life gone horribly wrong. As a fellow human being, i hope that the news doing rounds turns out to be false, but even the overtly optimistic won't give him a chance now. Mr Ajay Shankar, well written piece, sir.

Posted by Kapil_Choudhary on (May 19, 2013, 17:25 GMT)

I don't get how most commenters here are taking this article as proof of regionalism in the team. NEVER in the article is it stated that Sree was discriminated against, the author only says that Sree THOUGHT he was discriminated against. The way I see it, this article is the biggest indictment of Sree. First, when he came into the team, he complained about discrimination and that the world is basically OUT TO GET HIM with people spreading stories about him. Then, after getting established, fame goes to his head and he tries to cut off ties with his "older brother". Then, he is so full of himself that he actually calls journos at 4 am with a promise of breaking news just because a HOTEL IS UNABLE TO ALLOT HIM A ROOM. Then, even after being dropped, he is more concerned with dance and fashion shows even though he keeps claiming that he will focus on only cricket.

Posted by   on (May 19, 2013, 17:21 GMT)

for sure he would have been moulded into a good character had ganguly captained him for long..but ganguly was one of a kind who backed his players and not like dhoni who would criticize in public.but what ever it may be sreesanth has failed miserably.

Posted by Harpreet on (May 19, 2013, 17:19 GMT)

What a waste of an article ....... the writer is totally biased in this article and trying to defend Sreesanth in whatever way he could .... all this talk about regionalism is bullshit .... I am a supporter of Harbhajan and if I am to follow writer's route then even he must have been dropped because of regionalism rather than non performance? Wait a minute Sehwag n Zaheer were dropped due to regionalism too ? I can't help stop laughing after reading this article.

Posted by Romenevans on (May 19, 2013, 17:13 GMT)

@mainul079080 - India tried a lot to make the most of his skills, but you gotta help yourself to achieve big things in life. How long can others spoon feed you?

Posted by PrajithR on (May 19, 2013, 16:38 GMT)

This article is devoid of reason & is based in emotion. Sreesanth's loneliness in team was due to his self centered character.

We had rivalries like Gavasker vs Kapil in past, but they were always based on differences in professional opinion. Never they stooped to personal level. Egotic Sreesanth made enemies every where- even in his own team. Ever heard any team member support Sreesanth's character?

His aggressive character was a Fake - A show off to external world- that "I am a Fearsome Character". But in truth he was none. No proof needed more than his crying photo after slapgate.

Most people of Kerala always knew this. That is why you never saw much blind support for him - Neither in his Good days nor in his bad days.

Posted by mainul079080 on (May 19, 2013, 15:16 GMT)

I am a Bangladeshi.I assure u all that i am a very keen cricket lover and follower of world cricket. I am totally in a state of shock to see Sreesanth in such a state, same intensity of shock which hit me at the time of Pakistan's Aamer's breaking news.Sreesanth in my view was always the most talented,skilled Indian fast bowler of present generation,who was lost in black subcontinent cricket politics.India's pace bowling is dying for last few years,now in coma.Sreesaanth was a blessing,but poor India did not want to make use of him.If he were given the deserved long run in Indian national team and properly cared of... Alas Seesanth,Aamer,Asif! Such a wastage of sheer talents....

Posted by JerryJose on (May 19, 2013, 14:50 GMT)

Lame article in my opinion. Any professional setup with people from different cultures would need some effort to be blended in. Claiming that Sree was isolated because Cochin is not a powercenter in BCCI is ridiculous to say the least. Just look at how much love the young Samson has been able to reap in a single IPL season. Doesnt he come from the same state with no GodFathers??? I dont believe Ranchi is a powerhouse in BCCI either. But what has become of the man from Ranchi (barely a year separating him from Sree) is a history.

Posted by vik56in on (May 19, 2013, 14:40 GMT)

Regionalism has existed in Indian cricket for a long long time.Cricketers from the South have always been discriminated against The only exception being Tamil Nadu whose cricket association is too strong to be ignored.

Posted by AncientAstronaut on (May 19, 2013, 13:49 GMT)

Excellent article. Shows the real reasons that got him into trouble: immaturity and loneliness. Unfortunately, he's only got himself to blame. It's been very obvious over the years that he's too immature to be a professional sportsman. It's hard to blame the rest of the team for alienating him. Who would like to be friends with someone who behaves like a 14 year old, both on and off the field?

Posted by InsideHedge on (May 19, 2013, 13:01 GMT)

This is a superb article, it's not biased as a poster claims, just the observations of a non-player whom Sree confided in - sometimes. You can guage Sree's character from this story, and it's a sad story. You get the impression he's tried too hard to be liked.

It doesn't surprise me that he found some of the players unfriendly. Isn't that a common issue with the Indian team? Since 1932, the team has been riddled with regionalism, it's been better in some eras but the problem will never be resolved as long as Indians see themselves as being from their state FIRST and the country SECOND. An Indian will consider his own state/language superior to others.

That's the truth. I've seen it with Indians at work. Why would they be any different within the cricket team?

Posted by   on (May 19, 2013, 13:00 GMT)

Raina,Pathans,Jadeja and even Dhoni are not from big cities.Nobody has become what Sreesanth has.This city discrimination and all bullshit!At the highest stage,you select yourself in the team permanently with your exceptional talent,fitness,consistency,attitude & an exemplary behavior.Putting blame on others is like what Azharuddin said after getting caught."They are doing this to me because I am minority".You earn friends and Godfather by your behavior,you are not gifted one.Author,just because he shares the same mother tongue,has tried to paint a subtle and rather cunning picture like "He is very naive and helpful and lonely and the-one-who-sought-for-love&affection and he is just a poor victim of the ambiance surrounding him (the other players and discrimination). Bollocks!

Posted by   on (May 19, 2013, 12:58 GMT)

A very sad event...for cricket as well as him...Why does everyone need more of the same that they can't take with them..amazingly...this is so rampant, that even smaller countries aren't immune to to it...

I have been sitting on a hot story myself for a while and perhaps it is time that attention is brought to the matter...IN NUTSHELL...THE SPORT OF CRICKET NEEDS TO BE TAKEN BACK BY CRICKETERS...AND THE CROOKS NEED TO DRIVEN AWAY...

In the name of professionalization of sport..dishonest persons are now controlling it...It has become a show...instead of sport.

Posted by   on (May 19, 2013, 12:47 GMT)

As a complete outsider, I can't deny one fact: if Sreesanth was born in Pakistan - he would have played far more cricket. A team is made up of various 'characters' and he has been publicly chided by Dravid and Dhoni - something which never helps someone who is already facing the language barrier and factions in a dressing room. Can't help feeling that a leader of men like Ganguly or Imran Khan would have coaxed more out of his undoubted talent. His only calling card for the most part, was his bowling. That said, there is no excuse for being an overgrown kid. Ultimately, if you are old enough to play international cricket, you're old enough to know black from white. Period.

Posted by Princepurple1979 on (May 19, 2013, 12:36 GMT)

This article proves two things; 1 The cliques and regional politics do exist and are strong enough to make or break someones career in Indian cricket and 2 Greg Chappel was the most professional guy that Indian team had until then, but the twin Goliath's of the Indian team at that time (Sachin & Ganguly) ensured that he didnt continue for long. And for Sree, no point in asking "Pray for me brother", it has become more like "see you in another life brother (Lost)"...

Posted by DaisonGarvasis on (May 19, 2013, 12:35 GMT)

@UNIVERSAL_CRICKETER - There is no basis on your allegation on Dravid. Delhi Police said it - DHONI DID NOT PUT THE TOWEL IN SREESANTH POCKET - and for you neither did Dravid. The aggression/mockery Sreesanth showed after hitting Nel for six was not normal and it required to be stopped as Sreesanth had to understand he was no longer playing in streets of cochin but he was in International stage. Dravid did well to point that out to Sreesanth then - it's another story no matter who all told him anything Sreesanth was not going to learn anything. Let alone Dravid, Dhoni was fed up with him even after being good friends with him in the beginning and ALSO have criticized him in public. When two Captains of completely different nature pick Sreesanth to be criticized in public, one should understand it must be something wrong with Sreesanth - not the captains (and of all people definitely not Dravid).

Posted by   on (May 19, 2013, 12:05 GMT)

As Ajay Shankar said "Just make sure your friends don't land you in any more trouble." was very right. Sreesanth did not listen, so now he is in real trouble, how will he get out is not big problem but his career is ended with this controversy. Yes there is problem in Indian cricket where North India dominate in the cricket team but there were some good south Indian cricket players who proved that they are best with their performance. Sreesanth should have tried improving his bowling skills

Posted by Srini88 on (May 19, 2013, 11:36 GMT)

Team games are quite common.. How come Sir Jadeja would have got this many games, when Badrinath, Tiwari has not managed to. It happens everywhere.. right from school to IT companies. The bitter truth People has to be fleaxible so much that they will lose thei originality. Harbhajans let off was a slap to well wishers of cricket.

Posted by   on (May 19, 2013, 11:27 GMT)

People trying to put the blame on everyone but Sreesanth. As someone said, You are ultimately responsible for the choices that you make.

Posted by srajan2002 on (May 19, 2013, 10:57 GMT)

Nice to know a another side of Sreesanth, probably a little biased but understandable.However I am little surprised that the seniors in the team did little to ease him into the team

Posted by dino.d on (May 19, 2013, 10:44 GMT)

He himself was the reason behind his loneliness. Had he shown the maturity in cricket, no doubt, he would have been one of our best bowler. I am also a mallu. We supported him very strongly, even during his bad times, we always expected a strong 'comeback' from him, but the latest news literally shocked us!!

Posted by DaisonGarvasis on (May 19, 2013, 10:39 GMT)

It was an exciting story to see him come up from Kerala to represent India. It was a disturbing scene to see him concentrate on everything else - superstition, tantrum, fights - but cricket on the Cricket Field. It was more disturbing to see him get physically attacked by his team mate and then become a laughing stock of the nation. It is such a sad story to watch him waste all the blessings and go in to oblivion with this FIXING saga. These young guys needs guidance when then come in to the fame and money at a young age, they really do need that guidance. They need to be taught to keep their foot firmly on the ground and taught the value of modesty when you make it big. I have seen interviews by his family members in printed press comparing Sreesanth's childhood plays to that of Lord Krishna that he used to steal butter from kitchen and that sort of story. They were the very people who are supposed to give him lessons of modesty .

Posted by UNIVERSAL_CRICKETER on (May 19, 2013, 10:21 GMT)

India's ONLY Test win in SA won by unique Sreesanth...& what he got that day..... at post-match conference captain Rahul Dravid criticizing his aggressive attitude...the moment i heard Dravid's comments...two things instinctively came to my mind... 1- we have lost a pristine unadulterated talent..... instead of encouraging his heroics on fields & also against Andre Nel... here is his captain admonishing Sreesanth in full public... Sree needed a courageous & bold captain like Saurav Ganguly or Imran Khan.... 2- Rahul Dravid will Never be a good captain.... ( he is the best Vice-captain in cricket history.... ) ....not supporting your match winner at least on the day he won you a match is the worst sign of a bad captain... ..... I stand validated on both my observations.... And what a coincidence..... who is Sree's captain in IPL..... again Rahul Dravid !!! he could have flourished under Ganguly... just look at Sehwag, Harbhajan, Yuvraj..

Posted by   on (May 19, 2013, 10:11 GMT)

Well written article.. He made his debut under Dravid. His initial days were when there was apparent disharmony in the team. The team looked divided into 4 groups : 1) Dravid as captain (leading by example as the batting spearhead, but possibly low on team management) 2) Sachin camp (who wanted his opening slot back for him as well as the power centre) 3) Ganguly camp (trying to get him back to leader board) 4) Coach Greg (trying to make radical changes, necessary, but improbable in the Indian context).. No wonder, he felt lonely.. His actions, if proved, are still not justified, but yes, he did suffer in the so called "team" game!! Ironically, Sreesanth was most successful in Tests & ODIs when Dravid was the captain, & he has been accused when playing under the same legend..

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