5 Questions with Cricket World: I'm sure Sanju Samson can be India's first-choice wicket-keeper - Sreesanth
Shanthakumaran Sreesanth talks to Cricket World about India's fast-bowling riches, the talent of Sanju Samson and ways to make matches without crowds more interesting.
A Test average of 37.59 and a strike rate of 62.2, an ODI average of 33.44 and an economy of 6.07 may not be the most eye-catching numbers, but Sreesanth has been a bowler of spells. When the Kerala pacer made his ODI debut against Sri Lanka in 2005, there were not many bowlers in the country who could bowl faster than him.
His pace and aggressive approach meant that he often went for runs, but also provided the team with an x-factor. Owing to these very qualities, there were spells when Shanthakumaran Sreesanth looked like a man possessed.
Who can forget the semi-final of the inaugural edition of the T20 World Cup in 2007 when Sreesanth rattled the stumps of both Australian openers Adam Gilchrist and Matthew Hayden - and the celebration that followed. He came into the match on the back of another match-winning display of 2/23 against South Africa. Above all, who can forget his catch of Misbah that won India their second-ever World cup?
After his 7-year ban comes to an end in September, Sreesanth is now gearing up to make a return to the Ranji Trophy. Overly ambitious that it might sound, Sreesanth also hopes to make a comeback to the IPL, and eventually to Team India.
Here's what Sreesanth had to say as we caught up with him for our new series, 5 Questions with Cricket World:
Q: What's the first thing you'd like to do once normalcy returns?
A: Once everything is fine, first and foremost is to be grateful to the almighty and all those people who stuck to the rules and regulations and helped all of us to have a better world.
Q: What in your opinion can be done to make matches without crowds more interesting?
A: Have online contests during live matches and invite the lucky one to meet players (if completely tested negative with corona) or the winner gets an opportunity to have a one-on-one with players or be present in a team meeting for just one session. Make it very interesting for viewers, not just on TV but online as well.
Q: The likes of Khaleel Ahmed and Shardul Thakur haven't really clicked for India. Who are the upcoming fast bowlers you think India should try out and why?
A: Give them time, best facilities and atmosphere. They will surely get better. In my view, there are many fast bowlers and they are all very promising. I’m working with a few in Kerala - Basil Thampi and Nithish Reddy are superb. They are bowling 140 kph plus consistently. It’s about time that they also get a look in. We need fast bowlers not medium (pacers).
Q: What are your thoughts on how Team India has handled young cricketers? Has the management opted for a revolving door policy?
A: Team management's decision should be respected and followed. It’s brilliant to see lots of players getting a look in but then we must not forget the fact that to play for any country, at the highest level, one needs to be a totally deserved cricketer - man or woman - who performs day in and day out without missing their routine and give their very best for the team every moment.
Q: What do you make of your compatriot Sanju Samson? Is he in the race to be India's first-choice keeper?
A: Yes, I really love his work ethics. He is in constant touch and training hard. He is much more matured and really fit to play at the highest level. I am sure he can be No. 1 choice for our country as he is surely a match winner and a team man.
The best quality I’ve seen in him is the eagerness to learn from every moment of life. I wish him the very best to take Kerala cricket forward too with his performances at the international level. I am really looking forward to seeing him do well for Kerala, score big and win the Ranji trophy and Irani trophy. We can and we will.
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