Former India batsman Robin Uthappa, who is S Sreesanth’s teammate with the Kerala squad in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy 2020-21 that kicks off on January 10, is amazed by the veteran speedster’s ‘inspirational’ comeback story.
S Sreesanth is returning to competitive cricket for the first time since IPL 2013 after his life ban was reduced to seven years.
Speaking to Sportskeeda’s Indranil Basu in an SK Live session on Facebook, Uthappa stated that while the Kerala speedster has been looking good in the nets, it needs to be taken into account that he is returning to the sport after seven years.
Heaping praise on S Sreesanth for having the belief that he could play again someday despite everything he has been through, Uthappa added:
“When you look at it from a very human perspective, it is unbelievable (S Sreesanth’s comeback). The kind of conviction the man has, irrespective of what he went through (sic). He had the conviction that he will play cricket again. And he is living that today, seven years later."
Uthappa continued in this regard:
“When someone as an outsider would have heard what Sree said in 2013, when he came out of jail, he would have thought that it’s never going to happen (S Sreesanth playing cricket). Not in this lifetime.”
Uthappa added that he has immense respect for S Sreesanth for the manner in which he has battled his demons, saying in this regard:
“It’s just a testimony of complete self-belief that if you truly believe in something, no matter how insurmountable a mountain seems, you can surpass it. I draw a lot of inspiration from him.”
“S Sreesanth keeps the mood lively; he’s a genius personality”: Robin Uthappa
Asked whether Sreesanth had changed as a person or if he is still the same chirpy character as earlier, Uthappa jokingly countered “What do you think?” before elaborating that little has changed about S Sreesanth, the person.
Uthappa said in this regard:
“Sree is a breath of fresh air. In a time like now, especially during the quarantine, he just keeps the mood so lively. He is very interesting, and what I would call a genius personality. He is someone who has got the ability to turn things up a notch just by himself. A great character to have in any dressing room.”
While Uthappa, who turned out for Rajasthan Royals in IPL 2020, felt that S Sreesanth was bowling pretty well, he requested everyone to give the latter a year before making a judgement on him. Uthappa said in this regard:
“It would be unfair to expect that straightaway (S Sreesanth bowling well). One also has to understand the skill that he is performing. He was a fast bowler out of commission for seven years. And then, you brought him back. You’ve got to give him the time…"
On an optimistic note, Uthappa observed:
“One thing I can assure you is his seam position, release has not changed at all. He is as beautiful to watch and face as he has always been. His skills are right up there, and he has gotten more wily with age. If he can prioritise cricket, I am certain we will get to see the best of S Sreesanth.”
S Sreesanth was part of India’s World Cup-winning teams in 2007 (T20) and 2011 (50 overs), claiming 87 wickets in 27 Tests and 75 in 53 ODIs during a stop-start career.