Fast bowler Sreesanth is all set to end a seven-year-long sabbatical and resume his competitive cricketing career with the Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 tournament, starting January 10.
Banned for a lifetime by the BCCI for his alleged involvement in the 2013 IPL spot-fixing scandal, Sreesanth had last year gotten a huge relief when the Supreme Court asked the Indian board to shorten his ban period to seven years, the duration of which ended in September.
On Sunday (December 27), Sreesanth will join the Kerala cricket team’s conditioning camp as it begins its campaign in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy.
“Our first match will be at the Wankhede stadium where I had played my last India match, so life is coming full circle,” he told TOI in an exclusive chat.
“Kerala has never won this tournament but we have a very good team now. I am excited to be part of this unit and also play under the guidance of coach Tinu Yohannan. Both Tinu and Sanju Samson have said they want to gift the trophy to me as I make a comeback. But I am not looking only at Mushtaq Ali but also to win Irani and Ranji. If I do well, I will get more opportunities. I have been getting inquiries for IPL, too, and I have to make sure that I am fit and bowling well,” he added.
Sreesanth has been training hard and looking after his body in excitement to step on the field again. In fact, he has lost quite a few kilos, dropped his body weight from 106kg to 82kg.
“When I was not playing, I acted in a couple of Bollywood movies. I bulked up to get the kind of body these characters required. Routine of an actor and player are different but both need to maintain a healthy lifestyle. However, in sports, you need to do a lot of explosive training and I have been in touch with the leading strength and conditioning coach Ramji Srinivasan. After seeing my new videos, coach T A Sekhar has told me that it was like watching the Sree of 2007 World Cup,” he stated.
When asked if he really fancy his chances at the highest level as a 37-year-old, Sreesanth replied: “It is true that it is the kind of age when there is nothing much left to achieve in sports. But then, someone like Leander Paes won a grand slam at 42. Roger Federer is another case in point.”
He also expressed his desire to win the 2023 World Cup for India.
“As a fast bowler, I will be creating history but then, I like to create history. I am not just looking at the season ahead but at the next three years. My real goal is to be in the 2023 World Cup team and win the cup,” Sreesanth said.