"I used to copy him a lot, so I started bowling leg spin" - Sreesanth on switching to fast bowling
Sreesanth, who called time on his career earlier this year, has revealed what propelled him to switch to fast bowler after starting off as a leg spinner.
The Kerala-born right-arm swing bowler, who won the 2007 T20 World Cup and the 2011 ODI World Cup with India, was one of the most talented seamers of his time. However, a string of controversies have hurt his career as he managed to represent India only on 90 occasions.
While Sreesanth's exploits as a pacer are known to everyone, what many don't know is that the young boy from Ernakulam started off as a leg spinner. Throwing light on his journey from leg-spinner to pacer during Sharechat's online show 'CricChat powered by Parimatch', he said:
"See, I'm a very big fan of Anil [Kumble] bhai. I used to copy him a lot so I started bowling leg spin. I also tried to copy Shane Warne but in Kerala Ananthapadmanabhan, who is now an umpire, used to be a very good leg-spinner. He used to play first-class cricket. I learnt leg spin in my childhood but I used to see who was bowling leg spin at that time and if I could beat them to be in the team."
"Tinu Yohannan played for India so I thought if he can play for India with all due respect then I need to be a fast bowler. I went for the MRF Pace Foundation selection and the rest is history because I was among the best two in India at that time.
"RP Singh and I got selected that year. What I've learned in cricket is because of the MRF Pace Foundation."
While he scalped 169 international wickets, the highlight of Sreesanth's career was the delivery he bowled to hit Sachin Tendulkar's stumps in the Challenger Trophy. He was also the chief architect of India's first Test win in South Africa back in 2006, picking up a five-wicket haul.
"I used to play a lot of tennis ball cricket in my childhood" - Sreesanth on bowling yorkers
With T20 cricket growing thick and fast, bowlers use yorkers as their stock delivery to stem the flow of runs. However, back in the day, bowling a yorker was a rare commodity and only a few could master it perfectly, including Sreesanth.
The tall and lanky cricketer highlighted that playing a lot of tennis ball cricket helped him nail the yorker length delivery. When asked how he mastered the art despite coming from a small town, Sreesanth said:
"You can learn it anywhere. I used to play a lot of tennis ball cricket in my childhood days. The tennis ball didn't swing much and you had to put in your full effort to nail the yorkers, and at the end of the day, it's about visualization. You need to visualize everything."
"It doesn't matter where you come from. If you come from small towns, you get a lot of time and there will be less distractions. This is exactly what happened to me. I could just focus on the game and do well.
"Bowling yorkers also depend a lot on the bowler's actions, like for Bumrah it is work at will and I had to work really hard. A local coach here taught me how to bowl yorker with the tennis ball. One needs to keep practicing to get it perfect."
Sreesanth will next be seen in action in the second edition of Legends League Cricket, which will get underway on September 20 in Oman.
Get IPL 2023 Live Score along with Points Table & Schedule Updates at Sportskeeda.