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S Sreesanth: A two-time World Cup winner who courted trouble with slap-gate, then IPL spot fixing and now an on-field spat with Gautam Gambhir

The seam. The grimace at release. The headband. The misbehaving hair. The motor mouth. Time spent in Tihar Jail post IPL spot-fixing charges. S Sreesanth’s journey was mercurial but flawed.

Once again in his career, the former seamer is in the news for his on-field antics rather than his perfect seam release. S Sreesanth has accused his former team-mate Gautam Gambhir of calling him a “fixer” during a Legends League match in Surat.

The tiff between former India players S Sreesanth and Gautam Gambhir took a worse turn on Thursday after the former commented on the latter’s Instagram post, calling the batter “an arrogant and utterly classless individual.” Gambhir had earlier in the evening posted a picture of him smiling in an Indian jersey with the caption, “Smile when the world is all about attention!”

This is not the first time Sreesanth has involved in an on-field altercation with his India teammate on the ground. Harbhajan Singh had slapped S Sreesanth during a match between Mumbai Indians and Punjab Kings in the IPL 2008 season.

“What happened was wrong. I made a mistake. Because of me, my teammate had to face embarrassment. I was embarrassed. If I had to correct one mistake, it was how I treated Sreesanth on the field. It should not have had happened. When I think about it, I feel there was no need,” Harbhajan had said last year.

Festive offer

S Sreesanth was in tears after the. Harbhajan on the other hand was banned for the rest of the season. Besides the infamous slapgate controversy, the duo has won T20I as well as the 2011 World Cups.

Sreesanth has been part of India’s two-time World Cup winning squad. He played a pivotal role in India’s 2007 T20 World Cup win, including the famous catch of Misbah-ul-Haq in the final.

“In the air, Sreesanth takes it. India win,” screamed Ravi Shastri in the commentary box at the Wanderers in Johannesburg when Misbah-ul-Haq’s paddle scoop went straight into S Sreesanth’s hands at short fine-leg.

Sreesanth was also part of the 2011 World Cup final playing XI.

In 2013, Delhi Police had arrested Sreesanth on charges of spot-fixing. Sreesanth was one of three Rajasthan Royals players to be banned from cricket for his involvement in the 2013 IPL spot-fixing scandal. In July 2015, the Patiala House court dropped all charges against Sreesanth, Chandila and Chavan in the 2013 IPL spot-fixing case, saying no prima facie case under MCOCA (Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act) was made out against them.

Then, in March 2019, the Supreme Court lifted the lifetime ban on him.

If the best-of-Sreesanth clips are shown to somebody from the future, they might well query, ‘400 Test wickets sort of a bowler?’ As things stand, he ended up with 87 wickets from 27 Tests. Even his first-class average is 35.92, without any 10-wicket haul in 74 games.

Sreesanth has single-handedly won two Test matches for India in South Africa, including their first-ever Test win in South Africa with his 8-wicket haul in 2005-06 series. But the mnatch is not remembered for his five-wicket haul in the first innings, in fact, it was the six he hit against Andre Nel, which was followed by a dance.

Who can forget his delivery during the 2010 Boxing Day Test between India and South Africa in Durban.

“It’s taken off from nowhere. It’s jumped at him like a spitting cobra,” Ravi Shastri in his unique way had descrobed that dismissal.

With the ball in his hands, Sreesanth have given Indian fans memories to cherish, he will always be an important part of India’s cricketing history but he will always be remembered for his on-field antics.

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