There have been far worse characters in international cricket compared to Sreesanth, who needs his much-criticised aggression to perform as a fast bowler, according to Mahela Jayawardene, captain of Kochi Tuskers Kerala in the IPL. Jayawardene said the franchise did not want to curb his aggression as that could affect his performance.
"We want him to be aggressive. I think that's what he is all about. You need characters like him. You had much worse characters in international cricket in the last 20 years and I don't think Sree is that harmful to the game," Jayawardene said. "But I think if we can control him, we can have ourselves a very successful bowler for Kochi as well as for India."
Sreesanth has had repeated run-ins with match officials for his inability to control his behaviour on the field, but Jayawardene said the fast bowler was at his best when he could channelise his hostility. "I think you need to identify the individuals. Sree performs well in that manner. You take that from him and he might not do well. He's a very aggressive bowler but I have noticed he has toned down in the last one year. That's why he got to be a part of India's World Cup squad."
It is nice to have characters like Sreesanth in the dressing room, Jayawardene said. "Brilliant to have him; he just needs to reduce the volume on his i-Pod as well as the speakers. With him and Murali around, nothing can go wrong for us."
Kochi lost their opening IPL game to Royal Challengers Bangalore but the match was close until AB de Villiers' assault in the 18th over of Bangalore's chase, which went for 20 runs. Jayawardene said that he had thought the first game for the new franchise would prove to be much tougher than it turned out to be. "We have been bonding very well. We had a great last outing. I thought there would be many hiccups in our first game, that didn't happen. Everyone is identifying their roles and that is great."